Some people feel dizzy and sick, but manage to stay conscious. Some feel dizzy for a little while and then faint; others just pass out cold without any warning; some recover very quickly and really don’t seem much the worse; others feel and look absolutely awful when they come round. Often the first sign of a fainting fit is a change of colour. White skins go very pale, often with a greenish tinge; brown skins turn grey-mauve. If you’re one of those who faint without warning you might find your family or friends will see the danger signals even before you feel them and can warn you to take action.
But what action? If you feel faint and you’re in the middle of a crowd —in a busy office, or a shop, for example, or at a school assembly —you can keep yourself conscious for a few valuable seconds by clenching and unclenching your calf muscles as fast as you can. This could just give you enough time to get out of the crowd and into a chair where you can sit with your head between your knees and recover. If you have fainted, it’s a mistake to rush to get up when you come round or you run the risk of passing out again. Stay where you are and relax completely until you feel quite yourself again. Then get up slowly, a step at a time, as you do anyway after you’ve been relaxing.
Some fainting fits are caused by tension, so as you get used to relaxing and the relaxation takes effect, you may find that you don’t faint so often, if at all. Some fainting spells disrupt your breathing pattern. When you come round your breathing is upset, which can be alarming. A few deliberate deep breaths will often help you to breathe normally again and they will certainly make you feel calmer until you recover.