How to Treat Shock

Picture of how to position a person who is in 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 30 cm (12 in.).
  • If the person vomits, roll him or her to one side to let fluids drain from the mouth. If you think the person might have a neck or back injury, gently roll the person's head, neck, shoulders, and body together as a unit (logroll).
  • 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 how fast or slow it is. Take it again if the person's condition changes.
  • Try to keep the person calm.

Current as of: February 26, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
David Messenger MD - Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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