At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- Explain what unconsciousness is
- List some causes of unconsciousness
- Explain when to call for emergency medical care if someone is unconscious
- Describe the process of providing first aid for a person who's unconscious
The following key questions are answered in this module:
What is unconsciousness?
Unconsciousness means the lack of consciousness. More directly, this means an unconscious person is not alert, does not respond to outside world, and does not seem "awake."
Do people who are unconscious breathe, and does their heart still beat?
In some cases, yes, the unconscious person continues to breathe and their heart still operates correctly, circulating blood. In other cases, though, no.
What causes a person to lose consciousness?
A person can lose consciousness for several reasons, including an injury, blood loss, overdoses on drugs and alcohol, heart or respiratory issues, low or high blood sugar, dehydration, and other reasons.
Is it important to call for qualified medical assistance if someone loses consciousness?
Yes, always call for qualified medical assistance in these cases.
Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:
A person can lose consciousness for many reasons. Sometimes it lasts for only a short period of time. While other times, it lasts for much longer. If a person loses consciousness you should call for Emergency Medical Assistance, and then check the person's ABCs. If necessary, clear any blockage from the airway and provide Artificial Respiration or CPR. If the person is unconscious but breathing and has a pulse, cover him or her with a blanket and stay with the person until Emergency Medical Care arrives. If the person vomits, carefully roll the person's whole body to the side so the vomit can drain out of the mouth keeping the head, neck, and body in line. If the person returns to consciousness, have him or her be still and rest then remain with the person until Emergency Medical Care arrives.
Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – www.cdc.gov
- CDC Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion - http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/basics.html
- US National Library of Medicine (NLM) – www.nlm.nih.gov
- NLM Medline Plus - https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000022.htm
- New York Times Health – www.nytimes.com/health
- New York Times Health Guides - http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/injury/unconsciousness-first-aid/overview.html
- Healthline – www.healthline.com
- Healthline Reference Library - http://www.healthline.com/health/unconsciousness-first-aid
- Health Day – https://consumer.healthday.com/
- Health Day Encyclopdia - https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/first-aid-and-emergencies-20/emergencies-and-first-aid-news-227/fainting-and-loss-of-consciousness-644511.html