Also called: Syncope
Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. If you’re about to faint, you’ll feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous. Your field of vision may “white out” or “black out.” Your skin may be cold and clammy. You lose muscle control at the same time, and may fall down.
Fainting usually happens when your blood pressure drops suddenly, causing a decrease in blood flow to your brain. It is more common in older people. Some causes of fainting include
- Heat or dehydration
- Emotional distress
- Standing up too quickly
- Certain medicines
- Drop in blood sugar
- Heart problems
When someone faints, make sure that the airway is clear and check for breathing. The person should stay lying down for 10-15 minutes. Most people recover completely. Fainting is usually nothing to worry about, but it can sometimes be a sign of a serious problem. If you faint, it’s important to see your health care provider and find out why it happened.
Also called: Heat exhaustion, Sunstroke
Your body normally cools itself by sweating. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough. Your body temperature can rise to dangerous levels and you can develop a heat illness. Most heat illnesses occur from staying out in the heat too long. Exercising too much for your age and physical condition are also factors. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are most at risk. Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration, replenishing salt and minerals, and limiting time in the heat can help.
Heat-related illnesses include
- Heatstroke – a life-threatening illness in which body temperature may rise above 106° F in minutes; symptoms include dry skin, rapid, strong pulse and dizziness
- Heat exhaustion – an illness that can precede heatstroke; symptoms include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse
- Heat cramps – muscle pains or spasms that happen during heavy exercise
- Heat rash – skin irritation from excessive sweating
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention