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Brain & Nervous System Health Center

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Dizziness: Lightheadedness and Vertigo - Home Treatment

Lightheadedness usually is not a cause for concern unless it is severe, does not go away, or occurs with other symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat or fainting. Lightheadedness can lead to falls and other injuries. Protect yourself from injury if you feel lightheaded:

  • Lie down for a minute or two. This will allow more blood to flow to your brain. After lying down, sit up slowly and remain sitting for 1 to 2 minutes before slowly standing up.
  • Rest. It is not unusual to develop lightheadedness during some viral illnesses, such as a cold or the flu. Resting will help prevent attacks of lightheadedness.
  • Do not drive a motor vehicle, operate equipment, or climb on a ladder while you are dizzy.
  • Do not use substances that can affect your circulation, including caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs.
  • Do not get dehydrated, which can cause or increase lightheadedness, when you have an illness that causes diarrhea, vomiting, or a fever. Drink more fluids, especially water. Other fluids are also helpful, such as fruit juice mixed to half-strength with water, rehydration drinks, weak tea with sugar, clear broth, and gelatin dessert. If you have another medical condition, such as kidney disease or heart disease, that limits the amount of fluids you are allowed to have, do not drink more than this amount without first talking to your doctor.

If you have vertigo:

  • Do not lie flat on your back. Prop yourself up slightly to relieve the spinning sensation.
  • Move slowly to avoid the risk of falling.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Nausea or vomiting persists or increases.
  • Fainting occurs.
  • Your symptoms become more severe or frequent.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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