HOW TO PREVENT FAINTING

By CHRIS CHOICE

“Make una open window na,”(let’s open the windows) I said, vigorously fanning myself to preserve my makeup.

“The AC go dey escape.”(The cold air would escape) Ejiro’s sister, Oghenemairo retorted.

“AC wen no dey blow. See as I dey sweat.”(‘’The AC isn’t working optimally. Look as I am sweating’’)

The look she threw me was quite threatening. Hmmm…

I kept quiet o. I know as Oghenemairo body take dey hot, I no get her power.(I kept quiet.  I know how hot-tempered Oghenemairo is, I didn’t have the strength to argue with her)  

A few minutes later, Oghenemairo started to fan her face with her blush brush. “Eye dey turn me o.” (My eyes are turning) she said.

“You don chop so?”(‘’Have you eaten?’’) Her sister, the bride, asked.

“Yes na. No be me and you chop together?” (‘’Yes, didn’t you and I eat together?’’)

“Open window, this AC no dey work.” (open the windows, this AC isn’t working)I repeated.

“Come no dey do nurse thing for here, I take Oghene beg you.” (stop all this your nursing procedures, I beg of you) Oghenemairo retorted.

Almost immediately, she fell to the ground. She’d fainted.

“Ahh…Mairo! Bring water! Bring water!” Someone shouted.

I rushed to the windows and threw them open. It didn’t seem to be enough. So I asked for the help of one of the other ladies to bring her outside to the balcony.

“What of the water?” Someone asked.

“She doesn’t need water. The first aid is air.”

When a person faints, especially in a crowded place, it is usually due to hypoxia (deficiency of oxygen in the brain). Another common cause is hypoglycemia; which would require the use of sugars for resuscitation. Splashing water over the person’s face, further deprives oxygen from been respired. It could cause suffocation.

WHAT CAUSES SYNCOPE (FAINTING)?

A sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure leads to fainting, often in reaction to a stressful trigger. Depending on the cause, this condition is usually self-treatable as it doesn’t require any serious medical procedure for resuscitation. Exposing the patient to fresh air is the first step to resuscitation, create space and increase ventilation in the area around the person. Fainting is usually self-diagnosed, before the actual incidence; the patient would experience certain indications that such a thing is about to occur. However, it is worthy of that this warning signs and symptoms are usually ignored.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FAINTING?

The signs and symptoms vary depending on the individual; generally, the commonest signs as it applies to the whole body include: collapsing, lightheartedness, dizziness, low blood pressure, fatigue, or sweating. Some signs are more specific to the circulatory system (Heart) example: rapid heart rate, palpitations, or slow heart rate, also common are: blurred vision, fear/anxiety, nausea, or pallor.

WHAT IS THE FIRST AID FOR SYNCOPE (PRECAUTIONS)

Fainting can be prevented if you hid to the early warning signs such as dizziness, nausea, or sweaty palms. However, if you have had a history of a fainting spell and you cognizant of your body’s signals there is great chance of averting the situation.

If you notice you are about to faint do the following:

  1. Move away from the crowded area immediately.
  2. Lie down straight away.
  3. Contract your limbs or cross your legs; these actions can increase venous blood return to the brain and shun further blood supply to limbs thereby preventing a drop in blood pressure and consequently cubing the fainting spell.
  4. Reflexively raise or brace up your legs in the air. This action can also reduce your chances of fainting by returning more blood to your brain and breathing centers of your body.
  5. If you are nurse, doctor or just a Good Samaritan attending to someone who has fainted:

Help the person lie down and lift his or her legs up in the air. This will restore blood flow to the brain, and the person should quickly regain consciousness. The person should lie down for a little while afterwards.

If you have had episodes of syncope before, your health care provider might make some suggestions on how to help avert fainting. These might include but not limited to:

  • Avoiding triggers, such as standing for a long time.
  • Avoid crowded environment.
  • If you cannot tolerate the sight of blood, avoid such places that’ll expose you. E.g. RTA scenes or birthing rooms/labor rooms.
  • Regular moderate exercise/fitness training; this keeps your heart and circulatory system healthy.
  • Avoid blood pressure lowing medication like diuretics, Viagra etc. or consult your health care provider before using such medicines.
  • Eat a higher salt diet; this helps keep up blood volume by retaining more water in your body.
  • Drink adequate fluids, to maintain blood volume and keep your body cells hydrated.

Use firm stockings or abdominal binders to improve abdominal pressure and improve muscle tones which help with blood circulation.

WHAT ARE THE MEDICATIONS FOR FAINTING?

CONTACT US If you are a recurrent sufferer of fainting, your health care provider or doctor might prescribe some medications for you which may include:

  • Corticosteroids, to help increase the sodium and fluid levels e.g. cortisone, prednisone, and methylprednisolone.
  • Alpha-1-adrenergic agonists, to increase blood pressure e.g. Methoxamine, Midodrine, Metaraminol, Phenylephrine, Amidephrine.
  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to moderate the nervous system response e.g citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), Prozac, and sertraline.

CAN YOU DIE FROM SYNCOPE?

Depending on the cause of fainting, a person with sudden cardiac arrest also loses consciousness unexpectedly which might cause death without immediate medical attention or bad resuscitating interventions by medical and non-medical personnel e.g. pouring water on the person’s face or forcing the person to drink something like olive oil etc. These practices are capable of compromising the patient’s airways and further worsening the situation and might result to death due to suffocation. In most cases, syncope is not a sign of a life-threatening problem, according to a Clevelandclinic staff, although some people with syncope have a serious underlying medical condition which is not attended to could lead to further complication and eventually death.

SMART TIPS TO PREVENT SYNCOPE (FAINTING); SYNCOPE FIRST AID

  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Avoid smoky places.
  • Avoid Dusty places.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Always eat good and nutritious meals.
  • Avoid very tight clothing.

What to do; First Aid.

  • Assess breathing and airways.
  • Observe the chest for signs of breathing.
  • Check for pulse and heartbeat.
  • If there are no heartbeats or pulse (do chest compression and mouth-to-mouth breathing), four chest compression to one breathing.
  • Call for help if possible.
  • Loosen tight clothing like, neck tie, headgear, bras, socks, gloves, belts, etc; to ensure rapid circulation.
  • Control the crowd.
  • Separate patient from crowd.
  • Ensure cross ventilation.
  • Rub feet and palms.
  • Fan patient and constantly call patient’s name.
  • Send for medical aid.

What not to do;

  • Do not panic.
  • Do not pour water on patient.
  • Don’t force the patient to drink anything.
  • Don’t lie patient on their abdomen.
  • Do not pour olive oil on patient.
  • Do not slap or beat patient.
  • If patient was exposed to blunt or sharp force trauma during the fall, do not move patient. Instead, clear the environment.

These are the simplest first aid for syncope and are only effective in simple cases of syncope. Do not attempt these in bleeding patients. Instead, arrest bleeding by applying padding plus pressure to wound and seek medical aid FAST.

Disclaimer: information provided on this blog is only for educational purposes and in no ways serves as a substitute for professional health care. Please consult your health care provider for further assistance.

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