How to treat shock

Image demonstrating how to position a person with shock

Prompt home treatment can save the life of a person who is in shock.

  • Call 911 or other emergency services.
  • Have the person lie down. If there is an injury to the head, neck, or chest, keep the legs flat. Otherwise, raise the person's legs at least 12 in. (32 cm).
  • If the person vomits, roll him or her to one side to let fluids drain from the mouth. Use extra care if you think there could be an injury to the back or neck.
  • Stop any bleeding, and splint any broken bones.
  • Keep the person warm but not hot. Put a blanket under the person, and cover him or her with a sheet or blanket, depending on the weather. If the person is in a hot place, try to keep the person cool.
  • Take the person's pulse in case medical staff on the phone need to know what it is. Take it again if the person's condition changes.
  • Try to keep the person calm.

Last Updated: May 1, 2008

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine

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