Natures Way

Dr. Sahni's Homoeopathy

Pioneer in alternative medicine & health care!

First Aid - Unconsciousness


A state of instability in which a person is receiving no impressions from his sight, hearing, or other senses is called unconsciousness.

Unconsciousness can be brief, as in fainting, or prolonged, as in severe head injuries. " It can range from stupor, in which the person is semiconscious and can be roused with difficulty, to coma, in which the person is profoundly unconscious and cannot be roused at all."

Unconsciousness may result from injury,  illness or physical or emotional disturbance. Some of these conditions are relatively mild. Fainting, for instance, is a temporary loss of consciousness which usually occurs when too little oxygen is reaching the brain. It has many causes, including fatigue, pain, infection, anemia, heart disease, and emotional upset.

The person who faints should be placed on his back and his clothing loosened. He will usually recover consciousness very quickly, but should stay down for at least ten minutes, and then get up gradually. (See Fainting)

Severe shock, on the other hand, can also cause loss of consciousness, and is serious. The layman is more likely to see a person in traumatic shock, caused by wounds, broken bones, or burns. In shock the blood is not circulating normally and the skin becomes pale, cold, and clammy. Any person who has been severely injured should be treated for shock by being kept quiet, lying down, and covered, if necessary, to prevent loss of body heat until medical assistance arrives. (See Shock)

In some cases, such as a person suffering electric shock or carbon monoxide, alcohol, or drug poisoning, when his breathing either stops or is inadequate, artificial respiration can save his life. (See Artificial Respiration)

Drunks & Drugs

Acute alcoholic intoxication is a familiar cause of loss of consciousness. Usually the person has alcohol on his breath, his breathing is deep and noisy, and the pupils of his eyes are dilated but equal in size. It should be remembered, however, that the heavy drinker is liable to fall and injure his head; that his unconsciousness may have some other cause such as a stroke; and that alcohol, when combined with barbiturates, can lead to coma and death.

An overdose of drugs can also result in unconsciousness. With barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, the pupils are dilated and breathing is first slow and quiet, then slow and shallow, then noisy. With opiates, such as heroin, the pupils contract to a pinpoint and breathing is profoundly depressed. With both groups of drugs, there may be cyanosis-a bluish tinge to the skin. Inhaling model airplane glue (glue sniffing), lighter fluid, and similar substances can also lead to unconsciousness-and to smothering if the substance is being inhaled inside a plastic bag.

All these situations are emergencies requiring prompt medical help. If the victim's breathing has stopped, artificial respiration should be given. (See Artificial Respiration)

Accidents & Injuries

A head injury should be suspected in any accident involving force, such as a traffic accident. The victim may lose consciousness slowly or suddenly. His pupils are usually unequal in size, and there may be bleeding, or swelling on the head. His breathing may be slow and irregular. The injured person should lie down quietly until medical help arrives. If his face is flushed, put a pillow under his head and shoulders; if he is pale and ashy, omit the pillow and keep him lying flat. (See Bleeding)

Heatstroke is another serious emergency, occurring more often in older people and those with a systemic illness. It is a reaction to high air temperature and humidity. The victim loses consciousness and his temperature rises, possibly as high as 110° F. in some cases of prolonged exposure to the sun. He should be undressed immediately and sponged with alcohol or lukewarm water until medical help arrives. (See Heat Illnesses & Heat Exhaustion)

Electrical shock can be caused by lightning or by contact with live current. Shock from household wiring is more likely to occur if a person has a damp skin, is standing on a wet floor, or is touching a metal object that is in contact, directly or indirectly, with the ground. The first step in this emergency is to shut off the house current or to separate the person from the source, using a long, dry, wood pole, or a length of rope, or a cloth. If a high tension wire is involved, telephone the electric company immediately and ask them to shut off the current, then try to rescue the victim. If he is not breathing, artificial respiration should be given; it may need to be continued for several hours.

Gas poisoning, another cause of loss of consciousness, can occur in an enclosed, unventilated place where the air contains carbon monoxide or other poisonous gases, or does not contain enough oxygen. Carbon monoxide gas usually comes from automobile exhaust fumes, or from a faulty heater. It is odorless, unfortunately. The victim can be pulled out of the gas-filled room or garage, if the rescuer can do so without breathing, or taking only a few breaths. If the victim is not breathing, or is breathing inadequately, artificial respiration should be given. (See Artificial Respiration, Poisoning)

Other gases may be explosive, and rescue attempts can be risky. The police or fire department should be called in any case. They are equipped to handle emergencies of this kind.

Other Disorders

A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident, may cause a sudden loss of consciousness. The stroke victim's pupils are usually unequal in size. His skin may be flushed or bluish, and his face may be distorted by paralysis on one side. He should be placed flat on his back, with his head turned to one side so that secretions can drool from his mouth. Cover him lightly to prevent a chill, and call a doctor. 

Diabetic acidosis is a medical emergency resulting from insufficient insulin. The diabetic's loss of consciousness is gradual. His skin is dry and his face flushed. His breath smells fruity. Usually nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and deep rapid breathing are followed by coma. Here again a doctor should be called.

A diabetic can also suffer from hypoglycemia, the name for an abnormally low blood sugar level caused by too much insulin or not enough food. It usually occurs some hours after the diabetic has eaten. He may feel dizzy, chilled, weak, and faint and, if the condition is severe and is not treated, can go into convulsions and coma. If the patient can swallow, he should be given orange juice, sugar, or candy. If he is in coma, a doctor should be called. Hypoglycemia can also occur too when tumors cause an overproduction of insulin in the body. When an overdose of insulin causes a sudden drop in the blood sugar level with a failure of circulation, the condition is called hypoglycemic shock, or insulin shock. (See Shock, Diabetes Mellitus)

Loss of consciousness also takes place in epilepsy, in association with convulsions, and in a number of other severe physical disorders. (See Epilepsy)

Homoeopathic Remedies

Alcoholic: Nux Vom 30C, 200C, 1M in frequent doses.

Epilepsy: Bufo 30C, 200C, 1M; Opium 30C

Diabetes: Belladonna 30C, Opium 30C

Stroke: Arnica 1M ,Opium 30C, Plumbum Met 1M or higher

Sunstroke: Belladonna 30C, 200C; Glonine 200C,1M; Opium 30C

Bleeding: China 30C

Sudden Unknown Reason: Hydro Acid 30C, Cocca 30C & Laur 30C

Updated on: 01 Feb 2010