Dizzy spells and feeling faint are common problems. Causes include low blood sugar, drinking too much alcohol, or simply getting up too quickly. Feeling faint may also be due to emotional shock or panic, or may occur in pregnancy. An occasional episode is rarely a cause for concern, but sometimes the problem is due to an underlying condition or to certain drugs. Seek immediate medical help if you are dizzy or faint and have:
• Chest pain or palpitations
• Weakness in your arms
or legs, slurred speech, or blurred vision
What you can do yourself
There are several things you can do to help yourself get over fainting or dizzy spell quickly.
• Keep your head down on your knees or your feet raised and take deep breaths.
• If it has been several hours since you last ate, eat or drink a snack that contains sugar (not something containing artificial sweeteners).
• Don’t drink caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, cola, or alcohol, and don’t smoke, since all of these can make your symptoms worse.
• Don’t try to drive or operate machinery until you are completely recovered.
• Breathe slowly and deeply.
• Open a window or go out into fresh air if you feel steady on your feet.
• Avoid hot and stuffy environments. Have a window open, or go out into fresh air from time to time.
• Don’t get up suddenly after lying down or sitting.
• Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day.
• Eat regularly. Have healthy snacks, such as fruit, between meals to keep your blood sugar level steady.
• Avoid straining on the toilet, since this can cause a drop in blood pressure and make you feel faint.
• If you are pregnant, don’t stand for long periods or lie flat on your back.
See your doctor if
• You are taking a prescribed medicine that may be causing the problem, such as drugs
for high blood pressure or tranquillisers.
• You do not recover promptly from an episode of dizziness or feeling faint.
• You have repeated episodes of feeling faint or dizzy, or you develop any other symptoms.