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

- Confusion

- 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.