What Is 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.
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.
What Causes Unconsciousness?
can be brought on by a major illness or injury, or complications from drug use
or alcohol abuse.
causes of unconsciousness include:
blow to the chest or head
A person may
become temporarily unconscious (faint) when sudden changes occur within the
body. Common causes of temporary unconsciousness include:
(loss of consciousness due to lack of blood flow to the brain)
with the heart’s rhythm
syncope (loss of consciousness caused by a seizure, stroke, or transient
Signs that a Person May
that may indicate that unconsciousness is about to occur include:
inability to respond
Administering First Aid
If you see a
person who has become unconscious, take these steps:
whether the person is breathing. If they are not breathing, have someone call 911
immediately. If they are breathing, position the person on their back.
the person’s legs at least 12 inches above the ground.
any restrictive clothing or belts. If the person doesn’t regain consciousness
within one minute, call 911.
the person’s airway to make sure there’s no obstruction.
again to see if the person is breathing, coughing, or moving. These are signs
of positive circulation. If these signs are absent, perform cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) until emergency personnel arrive.
resuscitation (CPR) is a way to treat someone when they stop breathing or their
heart stops beating.
If a person stops
breathing, call 911 or ask someone else to. Before beginning CPR, ask loudly,
“Are you okay?” If the person doesn’t respond, begin CPR.
the person on their back on a firm surface.
next to the person’s neck and shoulders.
the heel of your hand over the center of the person’s 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.
your upper body weight, push straight down on the person’s 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
potential injuries, only those trained in CPR should perform rescue breathing.
If you haven’t been trained, perform chest compressions until medical help
If you are
trained in CPR, tilt the person’s head back and lift the chin to open up the
the person’s nose closed and cover their mouth with yours, creating an airtight
two one-second breaths and watch for the person’s chest to rise.
alternating between compressions and breaths — 30 compressions and two breaths —
until help arrives or there are signs of movement.
How Is Unconsciousness
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, they may need something sweet to eat or a glucose injection.
staff should treat any injuries that caused the person to become unconscious.
complications of being unconscious for a long period of time include:
received CPR while unconscious, you may have broken or fractured ribs from the
chest compressions. Your doctor will X-ray your chest and treat any fractures
or broken ribs before you leave the hospital.
also occur during unconsciousness. Food or liquid may have blocked your airway.
This is particularly dangerous and could lead to death if it isn’t remedied.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook?
will depend on what caused you to lose consciousness. However, the sooner you
receive emergency treatment, the better your outlook will be.