Friday, May 2, 2008

Fainting - not a pleasant experience

This story caught my eye while I was trying to decide what to write about today: More kids fainting after shots, CDC reports .

As a former champion fainter, I can really understand what it feels like to be in that position. I fainted many times as a child and teen. I could have fainted many more times had I not realized what was about to happen and sat down. For a few of my more memorable faints: I fainted in church, a store, a hospital and school. In the church and store, it was because I was standing for too long and it was hot. In the hospital, it was because I was standing too long, it was hot and I was watching my older brother get bandages changed on his face because of a severe dog bite he'd sustained a few days before. In school, believe it or not, it was because I took out my newly inserted pierced earring. I got *so* queasy that I passed out.

The faint I understoood the least was the one in the hospital. I was the one who found my brother when half his face had been bitten off (literally) and the blood was just everywhere. I didn't faint then. But, that must have been the adrenalin, because I sure fainted hard in the hospital a few days later.

The passing out is bad enough, but it's the danger you put yourself into. For example, in the school, I fainted right at the top of the stairs. One or two more steps and I would have gone right down them. The thing was, I remember it very clearly still, I knew I was going to faint, but I was trying to will myself not to. A lot of good that did. I banged up my jaw really badly with that one.

I learned my lesson with that particular episode. Ever since, if I start getting that feeling that people are talking to me but they sound really far away, I start getting a bit of tunnel vision and a weird pit in my stomach, I know it's going to happen if I don't sit down right away.

Fainting itself isn't usually serious. I still, to this day, can't stand for long periods if it's warm. I will - guaranteed - start to feel faint. I also still, despite being a nurse, have a very queasy stomach for things. I remember having to put my daughter's earrings in her ear for her when she broke her arm. You know what? Just thinking about it is making my stomach feel weird. Odd, I know!

But, even though fainting isn't usually serious, if you do faint, you should at least get checked by a doctor to make sure that there isn't anything serious causing it. As for the fainting itself, if you start to feel faint, don't be silly, don't try to will it away like I did - it won't work. Sit down, drop your head and take deep breaths - don't hyperventilate, but take deep, slow breaths, until you feel right again. And for heaven's sake, please, please, don't try to drive if you feel faint. It's not worth the risk.

Today at Help My Hurt:

Friday funnies: first Friday in May

Ortho week: What happens during hip replacement surgery?
Help My Hurt and Mental Health Notes blog connection
11 health observance months for May

News for Today:

Measles Outbreak Rises to 64 Cases, Most Since 2001
Intensive care traumatic for children, study says
Alzheimer's Disease Risk Factors May Be Gender-Specific
Tree-lined streets linked to reduced asthma rates in children
Early treatment of stomach infection may prevent cancer
Remote monitoring improves heart failure patients' health, may reduce hospital readmissions
Obesity worsens impact of asthma
More kids fainting after shots, CDC reports


Anonymous said...

Very odd that the rate seems to be increasing! Wonder if it's psychological or physiological factors causing the increase?

Dawn said...

I'm a fainter from way back too. I haven't for years because I know the symptoms and - doesn't matter where I am - I sit on the ground and put my head between my legs. If I do that quickly enough it stops it.

Makes people look though!