Fainting is when you pass out for a short time. It's not usually a sign of something serious, but if it happens regularly you should see a GP.

Causes of fainting

There are many reasons why someone might faint.

Causes include:

Symptoms of fainting

Fainting usually happens suddenly. Symptoms can include:

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have fainted and do not know the cause
  • you have recently fainted more than once

You must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if you're fainting regularly as it could affect your ability to drive.

Find out how to tell the DVLA about fainting on GOV.UK

Things you can do to prevent fainting

If you feel like you're about to faint, try to:

If you see someone faint

If you're with someone who has fainted, try to keep calm.

If you can, lay them on their back and raise their legs.

Usually, the person who has fainted will wake up within 20 seconds.

Immediate action required: Call 999 if:

Someone faints and they:

  • cannot be woken up after 1 minute
  • have severely hurt themselves from a fall
  • are shaking or jerking because of a seizure or fit

Page last reviewed: 2 January 2020
Next review due: 2 January 2023