Responding to Shock: Essential Steps to Aid Someone in Need


Encountering someone in shock can be a distressing situation, but prompt and appropriate action can make a significant difference in their outcome. Shock is a serious medical condition that occurs when there is insufficient blood flow to the body's vital organs. In this blog post, we will discuss essential steps to take when someone goes into shock, providing valuable insights from MyCPR NOW to help you respond effectively and potentially save a life.

1. Recognizing the Signs of Shock:
It is crucial to recognize the signs of shock in order to provide immediate assistance. Common signs and symptoms include:

a. Pale, cool, or clammy skin
b. Rapid and shallow breathing
c. Weak and rapid pulse
d. Confusion or disorientation
e. Dizziness or lightheadedness
f. Weakness or fatigue
g. Nausea or vomiting
h. Fainting or loss of consciousness

2. Call for Emergency Medical Assistance:
When encountering someone in shock, it is essential to call for emergency medical assistance immediately. Dial the emergency services number in your country and provide accurate information about the person's condition and location. Stay on the line for further instructions, as the dispatcher may provide guidance while help is on the way.

3. Ensure Safety:
Before approaching the person in shock, ensure your own safety and the safety of others. Assess the environment for any potential hazards or dangers and take necessary precautions to prevent further harm.

4. Position the Person Properly:
Positioning the person in shock is crucial to optimize blood flow and maintain vital organ perfusion. Follow these steps:

a. Lay the person flat on their back, unless an injury prevents this position.
b. Elevate the person's legs about 12 inches (30 centimeters) if no spinal injury is suspected. Use pillows, cushions, or rolled-up clothing to support the legs.
c. If the person is experiencing breathing difficulties or is unconscious, place them in the recovery position on their side to prevent choking on vomit or fluids.

5. Maintain Normal Body Temperature:
Shock can disrupt the body's ability to regulate temperature. Take steps to maintain a normal body temperature:

a. Cover the person with a blanket or clothing to provide warmth.
b. Avoid overheating or excessive cooling, as both extremes can worsen the condition.
c. If available, use a thermal blanket or emergency blanket to help retain body heat.

6. Provide Reassurance and Comfort:
Emotional support is crucial during a medical emergency. Reassure the person in shock, offering words of comfort and reassurance. Encourage them to remain calm and assure them that help is on the way.

7. Monitor Vital Signs:
While waiting for medical assistance, monitor the person's vital signs, including their pulse, breathing rate, and level of consciousness. Be prepared to provide this information to the emergency responders when they arrive.

8. Do Not Offer Food or Drink:
It is important not to give food or drink to someone in shock. The body's priority is to divert blood flow to vital organs, and digestion is temporarily compromised during shock.

9. Do Not Elevate the Head:
Contrary to popular belief, elevating the head of someone in shock is not recommended. This can potentially reduce blood flow to vital organs. It is best to keep the person in a flat position or in the recovery position if necessary.

10. Stay with the Person:
Stay with the person in shock until emergency medical professionals arrive. Offer support, reassurance, and comfort. If the person becomes unresponsive or stops breathing, be prepared to initiate CPR if you are trained and certified.


Encountering someone in shock can be a critical and challenging situation, but knowing how to respond can greatly impact their chances of recovery. By recognizing the signs of shock, promptly calling for emergency medical assistance, positioning the person properly, maintaining their body temperature, providing reassurance, and monitoring vital signs, you can effectively support them until professional help arrives. MyCPR NOW emphasizes the importance of immediate action in cases of shock and encourages individuals to seek professional medical assistance for proper diagnosis and treatment. Remember, your response can make a difference in saving a life.

CPR Certification
Back to blog