Shock occurs when there is an insufficient amount of blood flowing through the body. It’s often the result of a serious illness or injury, such as from a car accident. It’s a life-threatening condition—you’ll need to act fast.
: When you encounter someone in a state of shock, seek medical attention immediately.
Step 1: Check for signs of shock Check for signs of shock. They include clammy skin, paleness, restlessness, thirst, bleeding, profuse sweating, confusion, labored or rapid breathing, blotchy or bluish skin (especially around the mouth), and nausea and/or vomiting.
TIP: If someone has lost a lot of blood, is severely dehydrated, has serious burns or wounds, or is suffering a severe allergic reaction, assume he is going into shock and begin treating him.
Step 2: Treat minor shock Treat minor shock, where the shock is more due to the event than the injury, by having the person sit down and put his head between his legs, especially if he feels like he’s going to faint. The rush of blood to his head will help stabilize him.
Step 3: Loosen clothing Loosen clothing at the neck, waist, and wherever it appears to be tight.
Step 4: Elevate the legs or head Keep the person lying down and elevate his legs off the ground—unless they’re fractured—to help direct more blood toward the vital organs. If he’s having trouble breathing and you’re sure he’s suffered no injuries to his neck or spine, elevate his head and shoulders.
TIP: Do not move the person at all if you don’t know what his injuries are, or you could cause more damage.
Step 5: Check for mouth bleeding Check for blood in the mouth. If it’s present, turn person on his side so he won’t choke.
Step 6: Maintain his body temperature Keep him at a comfortable body temperature by covering him if it’s cold or providing shade if it’s hot.
TIP: If a tourniquet has been applied, try to keep it uncovered.
Step 7: Provide reassurance Do your best to keep the person calm by providing constant reassurance. Speak and act with confidence (even if you’re quaking inside).
TIP: Do not give the person anything to eat or drink unless a medical professional instructs you to do so.
Step 8: Wait with the victim Stay with the victim until medical help arrives.
FACT: The steps to treat shock are exactly the same as those to prevent shock.