Hesperian Health Guides


Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > New Where There Is No Doctor > First Aid > Shock

NWTND fa Page 10-2.png

Shock is a life-threatening condition that can result from severe bleeding, dehydration, major wounds and burns, allergic reaction, or infection in the blood (sepsis). This kind of shock is different from “shock” from a surprise or scare. The body starts to shut down, losing the ability to perform its most basic functions. Once signs of shock begin, it tends to get worse very fast. Treat shock quickly to save the person’s life.

  • Fear or restlessness, then confusion, weakness, and loss of consciousness
  • Cold sweat: pale, cool, damp skin
  • Weak, fast pulse
  • Dropping blood pressure

Get help. On the way:

  • Treat the cause of the shock as quickly as you can: for bleeding, use pressure. For dehydration, give rehydration drink. If the cause of shock is sepsis (an infection that spread to the bloodstream), antibiotics are needed immediately.
  • Keep the person warm (or remove some clothes if the person is hot).
  • Raise the legs, supporting the knees.
  • If the person can hold a cup, give drinks of water
    or rehydration drink.
  • Keep calm and reassure the person.
  • Give rectal fluids or IV fluids (see Health Worker Skills – in development) on your way to medical help.

NWTND fa Page 11-1.png

This page was updated:04 May 2019