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What is Shock?

Shock is a physical reaction to an accident or injury that can be very dangerous, even fatal. Shock is usually related to blood loss or circulatory problems, but it can also happen after severe burns, severe vomiting, a heart attack, bacterial infection or severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

Here are some tips on treating shock. If the situation is life threatening please call 999 for an Ambulance.

Signs of Shock

In the case of a serious accident (and once you have treated any obvious injuries and called an ambulance), watch for signs of shock. These could be some of the following:

  • Pale face
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Feeling sick and or vomiting
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Yawning
  • Sighing
  • In extreme cases, unconsciousness

Treatment of Shock

If you notice any symptoms of shock, seek medical help immediately by calling 999.

  • Treat any obvious injuries
  • Lay the casualty down, raise and support their legs.
  • Use a coat or blanket to keep them warm, but not smothered.
  • Do not give them anything to eat or drink.
  • Check their breathing and pulse frequently.
  • Give them lots of comfort and reassurance.

Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.

Last updated: May 7, 2020