Neurospine Hospital & Revive Critical Care

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0712-2995761, 2995762, 9021721336

Sudden Unconsciousness

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What is Sudden Unconsciousness

Unconsciousness is the stage in which a person is unable to respond to stimuli and appears to be asleep. They may be unconscious for a few seconds — as in fainting — or for longer periods of time.
Consciousness is a spectrum. Being fully awake, alert, and oriented to your surroundings is the most common and normal state of consciousness. Altered levels of consciousness include normal stages of sleep, as well as states of diminished awareness due to illness or medication.

Signs or Symptoms

During a period of unconsciousness, a person is not arousable, and will not respond or have any control of themselves.
After recovering from unconsciousness, it usually takes hours, days, or longer to regain full awareness and ability to respond.
Symptoms of unconsciousness include:

  • Appearing as if asleep
  • Unarousable and unresponsive
  • Not deliberately moving the body
  • May have involuntary physical movements, such as jerking, spasms, or seizures
  • Might vomit
  • Incontinent of urine and stool
  • Sometimes unable to urinate or have a bowel movement, leading to retention (which can be dangerous)
  • Might breathe on their own or have impaired breathing

First Aid

If someone is unconscious, you can take steps to assist while you are waiting for Expertise medical help to arrive.
Things you can do include:

  1. Check if they are breathing or not
  2. Try to feel their pulse
  3. Administer CPR if they need it and you know how to do it
  4. Use the Heimlich maneuver if they need it and you know how to do it
  5. Cover them with a warm blanket if the temperature is too cold
  6. Place an ice pack on them if the temperature is too hot

What to Avoid

  • Do not place anything in their mouth
  • Do not administer medication
  • Do not move their neck or back—this can cause permanent paralysis if the spine is injured

Treatment

Unconsciousness is treatable. Immediate treatment can result in improved awareness, and it can also prevent death or lasting health effects. Treatment can include:
  • Non-invasive oxygen administration
  • Intravenous fluids
  • Medication to treat an acute heart condition
  • Cardioversion, in which electric shocks are administered on the chest
  • Medication to stop a seizure
  • Mechanical breathing support
  • Intubation

Many of these treatments can be started by first responders on the way to the emergency department.

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