Loss of Consciousness Protocol

Fainting, “blacking out,” or syncope are terms used to describe temporary loss of consciousness followed by a spontaneous return to full wakefulness. Loss of consciousness may be accompanied by loss of muscle tone that can result in falling or slumping over. At camp, the most common cause of fainting is overexertion on a warm day in setting of mild dehydration.

After temporary loss of consciousness:

  • Bring patient to infirmary for immediate assessment
  • Place patient in a shaded or cool area removed from heat and sun
  • Take and record vital signs; seek emergency treatment for patients with significantly abnormal vital signs that are inconsistent with vasovagal syncope.
  • If patient is symptomatic, place in supine position with feet elevated
    Administer frequent, small quantities of cool fluids (gatorade or juice); avoid using water as a replacement fluid for dehydration
  • If blood pressure remains low after 15 minutes, consider intravenous fluids and seek emergency treatment via EMS.
  • Observe patient until symptoms improve; camper should be able to ambulate without recurrence of symptoms.
  • Patient who have loss of consciousness related to head trauma should undergo immediate medical evaluation.
Camp Health Consulting policies and protocols are designed to assist clinical providers in the planning of healthcare operations and in the administration of healthcare for campers and staff in a camp setting. They are not intended as a substitute for clinical judgment or decision-making for individual patients.