First-Aid Treatment for Shock

About the proper first-aid treatments for people suffering from shock.


When in a state of shock, the patient may not have sufficient blood pumped through the body and his tissues may not get enough oxygen. If not promptly treated, the victim's heart will get weaker and begin to fail. If a person remains in shock too long, death could result even though the injury suffered may not be fatal in itself. This is especially true of the aged and the weak.

In any serious injury, it is important to treat the victim promptly for shock (along with any other treatment required). The more serious the injury, the greater the danger from shock. Treat for shock even though the victim exhibits few or no signs of shock. An accident victim may suddenly collapse after 1st seeming normal and alert. The treatment is quite simple and cannot do any harm if not needed.


Pale, cold, and clammy skin; shallow and irregular breathing; weak and rapid pulse; dilated pupils; possibly beads of perspiration; a feeling of weakness and thirst; or none of these.


1. Have the patient lie down flat. (This places less demand on the body than sitting or standing.) In case of vomiting, turn the head to one side so the vomit will go outside of the patient's mouth.

2. If there are no head or chest injuries or any difficulty in breathing, then raise the lower part of the body 8"-12". If the victim complains of pain over this, then discontinue this.

3. Loosen any tight clothing, particularly about the neck.

4. Keep the victim warm (to prevent loss of body heat) but avoid sweating.

5. Speak soothingly and reassuringly to the patient. Give him a feeling of confidence in you and in his own recovery. Speak calmly and matter-of-factly about what you are doing as you begin to do it. This will help to orient him. But do not disturb the patient with unnecessary questioning, movement, noise, or hubbub.

6. Gentle stroking of the head (if it is not injured) or light, rhythmical massaging else-where is very soothing. Holding the hands or feet in a warm, reassuring way can help to bring a person back.

7. Do not give water if the victim is unconscious or nauseated. Also, do not give water if medical care will arrive within 30 minutes. If medical care will be delayed longer than this, then give only small sips and not enough to cause nausea.

8. Do not give any alcohol.

9. If necessary to transport patient, have him in a prone position.

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