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Are there any such world elements that would seemingly randomly cause creatures to faint for extended periods of time, ranging from a few minutes up, but revert before they started suffering permanent consequences?

One possible example that could cause this is anesthetic in the air, moved by wind, but this might not be possible if it becomes too diluted or too omnipresent.

The more hard-to-predict and understand via the primary senses, the better.

Bonus: Can the reasons suggested overlap without conflict?

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  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Is there a real gas or compound that can knock someone out and kill them within a few minutes? $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Feb 10 '18 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ That question seems to be focused around killing people, while this question explicitly is about not killing. Additionally, reasons other than gases are also welcome. $\endgroup$ – Dragon Feb 10 '18 at 7:58
  • $\begingroup$ Excessive alcohol consumption is widely known to cause this and can be somewhat difficult to predict based on individual susceptibility and tolerance levels. Add the consumption of many different kinds of drugs will increase both potential of unconsciousness and predictability. Serotonin syndrome will in worse cases lead to unconsciousness. Most often people revert without permanent damage after these chemicals clear their blood stream. $\endgroup$ – N2ition Feb 10 '18 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ Is this for a human population or can we consider "designer" organisms that might suffer such an effect on their world due to it's environment and their design ? $\endgroup$ – StephenG Feb 11 '18 at 5:24
  • $\begingroup$ It was intended for human populations, but I suppose custom organisms could work as well, although it would be best if they could interact with humans feasibly in this environment. $\endgroup$ – Dragon Feb 11 '18 at 5:33
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Narcolepsy is a pathology that lists sudden events of muscle collapse, akin to fainting, or seizure attacks, among its symptoms. As far as we know today, it does not seem to be entirely due to external factors, although there may be triggering external cues.

In some cases they have measured a diminished concentration of a neuropeptide called Orexin. If this reduced level of orexin were linked to the cause of narcolepsy, then it is not impossible to imagine a retro-viral agent that could induce an auto-immune response leading to the depletion of Orexin.

While the immune system often has a hard time directly fighting back retroviruses, it is completely in the realms of the possible that the infected immune agents could be identified and eliminated by the rest of the system. This could happen naturally, with symptoms like fever, pallor, increase white blood cells, or perhaps facilitated with the aid of external medications, in the way the childhood leukemias are treated.

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Some sort of very VERY specific nuero-toxin could be blamed. Passing out is mostly going to occur due to lack of oxygen, brain damage, or some sort of toxin. Passing out for most reasons is followed by negative effects like nausea, confusion, headache, vertigo tinnitus, etc etc. Most naturally occurring gases that could be responsible would be pretty dangerous and probably kill as many creatures as it rendered unconscious.

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