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First Aid Overview

First Aid for Shock

Shock is a life-threatening condition in which the body's vital functions are threatened due to lack of sufficient blood or oxygen flow to the tissues. Shock is one of the primary consequences you are trying to avoid when administering first aid.

Symptoms: Pale or bluish skin, lips, and fingernails; moist, clammy skin; weakness; weak, rapid pulse (more than 100 beats per minute); increased breathing rate; irregular breathing; restlessness, anxiety; thirst; vomiting; dull look in eyes; dilated pupils; unresponsiveness; blotchy or streaked skin; possible unconsciousness in severe conditions.

Emergency Treatment

  1. Make certain victim's airway is open, using head-tilt chinlift to open airway, even if back, neck, or head injury is suspected (see ABCs).

  2. Seek medical assistance immediately. Call for EMS.

    Until EMS arrives:

  3. If back, neck, or head injury suspected, DO NOT move victim (see back or neck injury). If no back, neck, or head injury suspected, lay victim faceup and elevate feet about 12 inches. DO NOT place victim in position that is uncomfortable.

    shock first aid
    Move the victim to a comfortable position
    only if there's no back or neck injury.

  4. Loosen any tight clothing.

  5. Look for injuries, and control any bleeding (see bleeding,external).

  6. Cover victim lightly with blanket.

  7. DO NOT give victim anything to eat or drink. If victim vomits, roll the victim onto their side and clean out victim's mouth.

  8. Put an unresponsive victim or a stroke victim in the Recovery Position.
To learn more about first aid and emergency care, see:


Linda Mutchner RN, BSN, CRNI, OCN: has been a CPR Instructor for over 25 years and first aid instructor for over 20 years, educating new parents, life guards, teachers, and other health care professionals. Linda also has been a nurse for over 32 years, and is certified in infusion and oncology nursing. Linda is co-owner of a company that teaches CPR, first aid, IV, safety, HIPPA, OSHA, and oncology training.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.