How to provide first aid for shock

Shock is a collapse of the circulatory system which results in insufficient oxygen reaching the vital organs and tissues. Shock can be life-threatening.

What to do

Unconscious casualty

  1. Follow DRSABCD St John WA Action Plan.
  2. Urgent medical aid. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
  3. Lie the casualty down with head flat on the floor and reassure. DO NOT raise their legs.
  4. Manage any other injury such as bleeding, wounds, burns and immobilise fractures.
  5. Maintain the casualty’s body warmth. Cover with blanket, coat or similar but DO NOT use any source of direct heat.
  6. Loosen any tight clothing.
  7. If the casualty is likely to require any surgery DO NOT give anything by mouth. Otherwise offer clear fluids e.g. small amounts of water frequently.
  8. Monitor the casualty. DO NOT leave them alone.
  9. Place casualty into the Recovery Position if they become unconscious and are breathing normally.
  10. Urgent medical aid. Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.

Caused by

  • Heart attack.
  • Bleeding.
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Burns.
  • Pain or trauma.
  • Major or multiple fractures.
  • Infections.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Severe sweating and dehydration.

    Signs and symptoms

    • Weak, rapid pulse.
    • Feeling cold, shivering, chills or clammy skin.
    • Rapid breathing.
    • Faintness, dizziness, nausea.
    • Cool, sweaty skin that may appear pale or discoloured.