Unconsciousness is when a person suddenly becomes unable to respond to stimuli and appears to be asleep. A person may be unconscious for a few seconds (fainting) or for longer periods of time.

People who become unconscious don’t respond to loud sounds or shaking. They may even stop breathing or their pulse may become faint. This calls for immediate emergency attention. The sooner the person receives emergency first aid, the better their outlook will be.

Causes of unconsciousness

Common causes of unconsciousness include:

A person may become temporarily unconscious, or faint, when sudden changes occur within the body. Common causes of temporary unconsciousness include:

Symptoms that may indicate that unconsciousness is about to occur include:

Administering First Aid

  • Check whether the person is breathing. If they’re not breathing, have someone call 911 or your local emergency services immediately and prepare to begin CPR. If they’re breathing, position the person on their back.
  • Raise their legs at least 12 inches above the ground.
  • Loosen any restrictive clothing or belts. If they don’t regain consciousness within one minute, call 911 or your local emergency services.
  • Check their airway to make sure there’s no obstruction.
  • Check again to see if they’re breathing, coughing, or moving. These are signs of positive circulation. If these signs are absent, perform CPR until emergency personnel arrive.
  • If there’s major bleeding occurring, place direct pressure on the bleeding area or apply a tourniquet above the bleeding area until expert help arrives

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation(CPR)

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency procedure that combines chest compressions often with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest.

CPR is a way to treat someone when they stop breathing or their heart stops beating.


How to Perform CPR

  • Lay the person on their back on a firm surface.
  • Kneel next to their neck and shoulders.
  • Place the heel of your hand over the center of their chest. Put your other hand directly over the first one and interlace your fingers. Make sure that your elbows are straight and move your shoulders up above your hands.
  • Using your upper body weight, push straight down on their chest at least 1.5 inches for children or 2 inches for adults. Then release the pressure.
  • Repeat this procedure again up to 100 times per minute. These are called chest compressions.

Treatment of unconsciousness

If unconsciousness is due to low blood pressure, a doctor will administer medication by injection to increase blood pressure. If low blood sugar level is the cause, the unconscious person may need something sweet to eat or a glucose injection.

Medical staff should treat any injuries that caused the person to become unconscious.

Complications of unconsciousness

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