It can be a real shock seeing someone suddenly fall in front of you. But taking first aid training can prepare you on how to handle such emergencies. It equips you not just with skills but with confidence.
Unconsciousness occurs when an individual suddenly becomes unresponsive to stimuli and appears to be asleep. Unconsciousness can last for a few seconds (such as with fainting) or for a longer period of time (such as with coma).
Individuals who have fallen unconscious do not respond to stimuli such as shaking or loud sounds, and cannot communicate as well. In some cases, the person may lose his pulse and may faint. Sudden loss of consciousness requires immediate emergency care. The sooner first aid is rendered the better the outlook of the person will be. With first aid training, you will know what to do in the event a person has suddenly fallen unconscious.
Causes of Unconsciousness
There are a lot of factors that can cause unconsciousness. It can result from a major injury or illness, or effects of medication, alcohol or illegal drugs. Some of the common causes include:
- Head or neck injury
- Severe blood loss
- Drug overdose
- Alcohol poisoning
Meanwhile, sudden changes within the body can cause temporary unconsciousness (fainting). These include:
- Drop in blood sugar
- Drop in blood pressure
- Problems with heart rhythm
- Syncope or decreased blood flow to the brain
- Stroke, seizure, or transient ischemic attack
There are still many possible causes of unconsciousness. Although it is difficult to predict when a person will lose consciousness, there are symptoms that may indicate impending unconsciousness:
- Sudden unresponsive
- Difficulty communicating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
First aid for Unconsciousness
What to do if you someone suddenly becomes unconscious:
- Check if the individual is breathing. If he or she is breathing, place the victim on his or her back.
- Open the person’s airway and check if there are no obstructions.
- Loosen restrictive clothing and accessories (belts, neck tie, chokers). If the loss of consciousness last for more than one minute, call 911 or your local emergency phone number.
- Elevate the person’s lower extremities at least 12 inches above the ground.
- Check to see if the person is breathing, moving, or coughing. These are positive signs of circulation. If the person is not breathing, initiate CPR until the ambulance arrives.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a life-saving skill that is learned in first aid training courses. It is used in case the person’s heart stops beating or the person stops breathing. If you do not know how to perform CPR, let someone do so. In some cases, the emergency operator will guide you through the process, so don’t hang up the telephone once you’ve called 911.