S is for Shock (Medical) – The A-Z of First Aid with Optimum First Aid

Do you know what medical shock is and how to treat a person suffering from this?

If you don’t, spare 2 mins of your day to read up on how you can recognise and treat a person suffering from medical shock – YOU COULD SAVE SOMEONE’S LIFE!

After reading an article regarding a lady being treated for shock in today’s Bristol Post (see link below), I thought I would ask how many of my readers would know what action they would need to take if they came across someone suffering from shock. It is one of those conditions that unless you have received some training on, you would not necessarily know what to do.


Medical shock is a very serious and critical condition.  If it is not treated, it can be result in death!

There are lots of different types of life threatening shock e.g.

  • Cardiogenic Shock – Fall of blood pressure i.e. heart related conditions.
  • Hypovolaemic Shock – Loss of body fluids i.e. bleeding, burns, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive sweating that results in a low blood volume.
  • Anaphylactic Shock – Massive over reaction of the body’s immune system.

However, it is essentially:

A lack of oxygen to the tissues of the body, usually caused by a fall in blood pressure or blood volume.


But what will a person look like when suffering from medical shock?

  • Early signs may include pale, clammy skin and a rise in their pulse rate. This is caused as a result of adrenaline being released in the body.
  • Later, there may be blue tinges to their lips and skin. They may have a rapid, weak pulse, be sweating and/or feel sick or dizzy.
  • As the brain is starved of oxygen, the person may be confused/anxious or become unconscious.


And what can we do to support a person suffering from medical shock?

  • Lay the person down and elevate their legs if no broken bones.
  • Treat the cause of the shock (if known)
  • Call 999/112
  • Keep them warm (do not overheat)
  • Monitor breathing, pulse and levels of response
  • Be prepared to resuscitate
  • Do NOT allow the person to drink, eat or smoke
  • Loosen tight clothing around neck, chest or waist