Dealing with Shock

This leaflet is created from first aid advice provided by St John Ambulance, the nation's leading first aid charity. This advice is no substitute for first aid training - find a training course near you.

Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the vital organs, such as the brain and heart, are deprived of oxygen, due to a problem affecting the circulatory system.


Look for:

  • Pale face.
  • Cold, clammy skin.
  • Fast, shallow breathing.
  • Rapid, weak pulse.
  • Yawning.
  • Sighing.
  • In extreme cases, unconsciousness.


  • Help the person to lie down.
  • Treat any possible causes of shock.
  • Raise and support their legs if their injuries allow.
  • Loosen tight clothing.
  • Keep them warm.
  • Call 999/112 for emergency help.

Note: these hints are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid. St John Ambulance holds first aid courses throughout the country.

This leaflet was taken from the St John Ambulance website: shock. Copyright for this leaflet is with St John Ambulance.