Fainting - Symptoms 

Symptoms of fainting 

When you faint, you will feel weak and unsteady before passing out for a short period of time, usually only a few seconds.

Fainting can happen when you are sitting down, standing up or when you get up too quickly.

Warning symptoms

You may not experience any warning symptoms before you lose consciousnes, and if you do experience them it may be only for a few seconds.

Just before losing consciousness, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • yawning
  • a sudden, clammy sweat
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • fast, deep breathing
  • confusion
  • feeling lightheaded
  • blurred vision or spots in front of your eyes
  • ringing in your ears

This is followed by a loss of strength and a loss of consciousness.

When you collapse to the ground, your head and heart are on the same level. This means that your heart does not have to work as hard to push blood up to your brain. You should return to consciousness after about 20 seconds.

You should call 999 and request an ambulance if a person faints and does not regain consciousness within two minutes.


After fainting, you may feel confused and weak for about 20 to 30 minutes. You may also feel tired. Sometimes, you may not be able to remember what you were doing just before you fainted.

Fainting or stroke?

Fainting can be mistaken for a serious medical condition, such as a stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted.

You should dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance if you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke.

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST, which stands for Face-Arms-Speech-Time.

  • Face: the face may have fallen on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
  • Arms: the person with a suspected stroke may not be able to raise both arms and keep them there due to arm weakness or numbness.
  • Speech: the person may have slurred speech.
  • Time: it is time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

You should also dial 999 to request an ambulance if someone faints and does not regain consciousness after a minute or two.

Page last reviewed: 07/08/2012

Next review due: 07/08/2014


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The 5 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

tanisskye16 said on 26 May 2013

i was sitting with my brother i was on the computer trying to play a song i don't remember anything after that last thing i woke up i was on the ground & my brother was right there but now still feel really dizzy & numb i dont know whats wrong with me can someone help me please

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Hamyam said on 23 February 2012

I have been experiencing fainting symptoms quite often these days. I always feel light headed, each time I stand up I feel like passing out. My head turns, I get all dizzy, I literally almost start passing out then I'd kind of get a grip of myself and sit down but even after sitting I still feel like fainting.

Also,have a cold at the moment. For a few days. Drugs I've taken isn't helping at all. My nostrils are all blocked,high body temperature,no appetite.nausea,diarrhoea,headache,almost fainting. Please I'd like to know what I can do to get better.

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potter_love said on 22 May 2011

Two days ago my body went a bit funny, at school i was nearly falling asleep as i was walking through the playgrounds, and then in the evening when my tutor was around working with me i couldn't keep my eyes open and i kept yawning even though i didn't feel tired, it felt like my eyes were rolling into the back of my head, and then her voice started to fade away and things started to black out and i could feel myself swaying but inside i felt normal...was this fainting? Or something different?

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Lucretia said on 24 August 2010

Snoring when you are unconcious is commonly caused by the tongue falling back and blocking your throat. It can happen any time someone is unconcious whether its faint from blood loss or epilepsy. I`m sure that when you were checked at the hospital that epilepsy would have been considered and checked for so I think that you can be confident that it has been excluded as a cause for your fainting spells.

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Jayne E said on 08 April 2010

I fainted twice recently & my husband said I was snoring when I was 'out'. Does anyone know if this is normal?
I was a bit worried as my mum has sleep epilepsy & after a seizure she will often go into a deep sleep & snore, was just worried that I didnt faint & that it was something else.
I did go to A&E that morning to get checked out, but I didnt know about the snoring bit until after I got home- dr just said it was exhaustion.

Have checked google but nothing relevant came up.
Any comments welcome.

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