Fainting

Fainting occurs when there is not enough blood going to the victim’s brain.  It usually only lasts for a short period of time.  The victim will stop responding for less than a minute and then seems alert again. Moments before fainting, a victim may feel dizzy.  

Signs and Symptoms of Fainting
  • Victim suddenly feels dizzy
  • Victim stumbles and falls down
  • Victim stops responding (less than a minute) and then becomes alert again 
Caring for a Fainting Victim
  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Help the victim lie flat on the ground
  • Call or direct bystander to call EMS
  • Instruct the victim to remain lying flat on the ground until he/she can sit up and feel normal
  • If the victim fell – check for injuries caused by the fall
  • Remain with victim until he/she feels normal and alert
    • Can stand and walk without assistance
    • Is aware of what happened and who he/she is
  • Record any changes in victim
  • Report findings to EMS when they arrive
  • If victim becomes unresponsive or has agonal breathing (irregular, shallow or gasping) or is not breathing at all – begin CPR
    • Continue CPR cycles until EMS arrives, a second rescuer takes over or you are too tired to continue
    • If you do not know CPR begin “Hands Only” compressions at a rate of 100-120/per minute

Diabetes and Low Blood Sugar

Diabetes is a disease that affects a victim’s blood sugar levels.  When a victim has too much or too little blood sugar, problems can occur.  Some diabetics take regular doses of insulin. 

Signs and Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

  • A change in behavior
    • Confused, irrational or irritable
  • Sleepiness or lack of response
  • Hunger, thirst or overall weakness
  • Victim appears sweaty and/or pale
  • Seizure – see seizure section

Common causes of low blood sugar

  • Not eating
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating enough food for level of activity
  • Injecting too much insulin

Caring for a Diabetic Victim

  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Call or direct a bystander to call EMS
  • Ask the victim if you can help
  • If the victim can sit up and swallow 
    • Give glucose tablet if available OR
    • Give a food or drink that contains sugar (chocolate does not contain enough sugar)
    • Fruit juice
    • Milk
    • Sugar
    • Honey
    • A regular soft drink
    • Diet foods and drinks do not have sugar
  • If the victim cannot sit up and swallow
    • Do NOT give food or drink
    • Have victim sit quietly or lie down until EMS arrives
  • If victim becomes unresponsive, stops breathing and loses consciousness, immediately call or have a bystander call EMS - begin CPR
    • Continue CPR cycles until a second rescuer or EMS takes over, you are too tired to continue, or victim begins breathing
    • If victim begins breathing, place in recovery position until EMS arrives

Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the victim’s brain is interrupted or severely reduced by a blood clot, which deprives the brain tissue of oxygen and vital nutrients.  A stroke is sometimes called a “brain attack”.  Early recognition of signs and symptoms can improve a victim’s chance of survival.  

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

  • Facial droop
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the arm, leg or face – especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding 
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss balance/coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

FAST Stroke Assessment: 

  • F - Facial droop
  • A - Arm weakness
  • S - Speech difficulty
  • T - Time to call EMS

Caring for a Stroke Victim
    Recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke  

  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Call or direct a bystander to call EMS
  • Do NOT give the victim anything to eat or drink
  • Encourage the victim to remain calm and quiet
  • Monitor victim and be prepared to perform CPR
  • Most strokes are preventable
    • More than half of strokes are caused by uncontrolled hypertension or high blood pressure making it the most important risk factor to control
  • Medical treatments may be used to control high blood pressure and/or manage atrial fibrillation among high-risk victims
  • Carotid endarterectomy (removal of blockages in artery)
    • Angioplasty/stents (opening of blocked blood vessel)
  • Remain with victim until EMS arrives 
  • Record any changes in victim
  • Report findings to EMS when they arrive
  • If victim becomes unresponsive or has agonal breathing (irregular, shallow or gasping) or is not breathing at all – begin CPR
    • Continue CPR cycles until EMS arrives, a second rescuer takes over or you are too tired to continue
    • If you do not know CPR begin “Hands Only” compressions at a rate of 100-120 per minute

Seizure

A seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity in a victim’s brain.  Most seizures stop within a few minutes.  Victims who have the medical condition, epilepsy can have seizures.  Some seizures can also occur when the heart suddenly stops beating.

 Signs and Symptoms of Seizure

  • Loss of muscle control
  • Falling to the ground
  • Victim’s arms, legs or other parts of the body may jerk
  • Victim stops responding

 Causes of Seizure

  • Medical condition
  • Head injury
  • Low blood sugar
  • Heat-related injury
  • Poisoning

 Caring for a Seizure Victim

  • Assess the scene for safety
  • Call or direct a bystander to call EMS
  • Ask the victim if you can help
  • Protect the victim from injury
  • Move furniture or other unsafe objects out of the way
  • Place a small pad or towel under the victim’s head, if possible
  • Do NOT place objects in the victim’s mouth
  • Encourage the victim to remain calm
  • Remain with the victim until EMS arrives and takes over
  • If victim becomes unresponsive or has agonal breathing (irregular, shallow or gasping) or is not breathing at all - begin CPR
    • Continue CPR cycles until EMS or second rescuer takes over, AED becomes available or you are too tired to continue
    • If you do not know CPR begin “Hands Only” compressions at a rate of 100-120 minute

Shock

Shock victims are experiencing circulatory failure due to heart failure, fluid loss or an allergic reaction. Shock may cause a victim to stop responding and lead to permanent damage if left untreated.

Signs and Symptoms of Shock

  • Victim’s skin feels cold and clammy
  • Victim appears pal or grayish
  • Victim is nauseous, vomiting or thirsty
  • Victim has rapid breathing and pulse
  • Altered mental state – acts restless, agitated or confused

Caring for Shock Victim

  • Check the scene for safety
  • Call or direct bystander to call EMS
  • Help the victim lie on his/her back
  • Cover the victim to keep him/her warm
  • Check the victim using ABC method:
    • Airway – use head tilt-chin lift method
    • Breathing – look, listen and feel for breathing
    • Circulation – check for severe bleeding
  • Record any changes in the victim’s condition
  • Report your findings and care to EMS when they arrive 
  • If victim becomes unresponsive or has agonal breathing (irregular, shallow or gasping) or is not breathing at all - begin CPR
    • Continue CPR cycles until EMS or second rescuer takes over, AED becomes available or you are too tired to continue
    • If you do not know CPR begin “Hands Only” compressions at a rate of 100- 120 minute