Dizziness

It's common to sometimes feel dizzy, lightheaded or off-balance. It's usually not serious. Contact your GP if you're worried.

Check if you have dizziness

Dizziness includes feeling:

  • off-balance
  • giddy
  • lightheaded or faint
  • like you're spinning or things around you are spinning (vertigo)

How you can treat dizziness

Dizziness usually goes away on its own. But there are things you can do to take care of yourself while you're feeling dizzy.

Do

  • lie down until dizziness passes, then get up slowly

  • move slowly and carefully

  • get plenty of rest

  • drink plenty of fluids, especially water

  • avoid coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs

Don't

  • do not bend down suddenly

  • do not get up suddenly after sitting or lying down

  • do not do anything that could be dangerous while you're dizzy, like driving, climbing a ladder or using heavy machinery

  • do not lie totally flat if you feel like things are spinning

When to contact your GP

Contact your GP if:

  • you're worried about your dizziness or vertigo
  • it will not go away or it keeps coming back
  • you're finding it harder to hear
  • there's ringing or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
  • you have double vision, blurred vision or other changes in your eyesight
  • your face, arms or legs feel numb
  • you have other symptoms like fainting, headaches, feeling or being sick

Causes of dizziness

If you have other symptoms, this might give you an idea of the cause. Do not self-diagnose – contact your GP if you're worried.

Dizziness while you're ill with something else

Dizziness often goes away after you're treated for something else.

For example:

Dizziness for no obvious reason

Dizziness symptoms Possible causes
Dizziness symptoms When standing or sitting up suddenly Possible causes sudden drop in blood pressure (postural hypotension)
Dizziness symptoms Feeling off-balance, losing some hearing, ringing or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus) Possible causes inner-ear problems
Dizziness symptoms Feeling off-balance or like things are spinning, feeling or being sick, sometimes after a cold or flu Possible causes labyrinthitis
Dizziness symptoms After starting new prescription medicine Possible causes side effect of medicine
Dizziness symptoms With symptoms like:

  • hearing loss

  • double vision

  • blurred vision

  • numb face

  • arms or leg
Possible causes decreased blood flow to the brain, possibly from clogged arteries (atherosclerosis)


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

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