Recognise, act and control immediately
What is shock?
Shock is a potential life-threatening condition caused by injuries that reduce blood flow. This may include:
- severe internal or external bleeding
- loss of body fluids, from dehydration, diarrhoea, vomiting or burns
- severe allergic reactions (Anaphylaxis)
- condition such as a heart attack or heart failure
As a result, the cells are restricted of oxygen that allow for optimal function. This can cause damage to the brain and the heart.
If a casualty shows signs of such conditions, resulting in reduced circulation or blood flow, they could develop shock.
Signs and symptoms
- Paleness of the face
- Fast, weak pulse
- Cold, clammy skin
- Fast, shallow breathing
- Yawning or sighing
- Reduced, loss of response
Administering first aid for shock
If the casualty shows signs of shock:
- Lay the casualty down with their head low and legs raised and supported. The aim is to increase the flow of blood to their head. Do not raise a leg if its injured.
- Call 999 or 112 for medical help and inform the operator you suspect the casualty is in shock and explain its cause (i.e. severe bleeding).
- Loosen any tight clothing around the casualty’s neck, chest or waist to ensure it doesn’t restrict blood flow.
- Keep the casualty comfortable, warm and calm until medical help arrives. Cover them with a coat or blanket and reassure them. Fear and pain can exacerbate the condition.
- Keep checking the casualty’s breathing and level of response.
If the casualty become unresponsive, open their airway and check for breathing. Prepare to treat the casualty who is unresponsive.
View related courses:
First aid advice
Select from a range of topics below
Choking Child & Infant
Inhalation of toxic fumes
Wounds & Bleeds
Bones, muscles & joint injuries
Sprains & strains
Burns & scalds
Types & treatment for burns
Types & treatment for poisons
Sickle cell anaemia
Extreme Heat & Cold
Bites & stings
Practice makes perfect
It goes without saying that hands-on first aid training or utilising other available resources such as on-line training are the optimal way to gain valuable first aid practical skills and a thorough understanding.
It couldn't be simpler
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