Dealing with Shock

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This leaflet is created from first aid advice provided by St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid charity. This advice is no substitute for first aid training - find a training course near you.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the vital organs, such as the brain and heart, are deprived of oxygen, due to a problem affecting the circulatory system.

Look for:

  • Pale face.
  • Cold, clammy skin.
  • Fast, shallow breathing.
  • Rapid, weak pulse.
  • Yawning.
  • Sighing.
  • In extreme cases, unconsciousness.
  • Help the person to lie down.
  • Treat any possible causes of shock.
  • Raise and support their legs if their injuries allow.
  • Loosen tight clothing.
  • Keep them warm.
  • Call 999/112/911 for emergency help.

Note: these hints are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid. St John Ambulance holds first aid courses throughout the country.

Adapted from the St John Ambulance leaflet: shock. Copyright for this leaflet is with St John Ambulance.

Original Author:
St John Ambulance
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
St John Ambulance
Document ID:
28657 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
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