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Shock is defined as a lack of oxygen to the body’s tissues. There are many reasons why someone may go into shock and there are different types of shock.

Hypovolemic shock, lack of content of blood in your system.

Neurogenic Shock, could be due to a problem within the brain

Cardiogenic Shock, due to a problem around the heart

Within first aid we look further at Hypovolemic Shock.

When you treat a person who has lost a lot of blood, their condition could be very serious even if you have successfully applied dressing and controlled the bleed.

You need to be aware and ready to treat the patient for shock.

Their blood volume or content may be decreased, this may result in the heart being unable to pump the blood around their system effectively, which could result in hypovolemic shock, the severity of the shock would depend on the amount of blood or fluid loss, if a significant blood loss has occurred the situation can be life-threatening.

With less blood and less oxygen in the body, the heartrate will increase, because the volume is low, this will result in a rapid but weak pulse.

A patient with this type of shock may feel dizzy, unwell, nauseous they may even vomit. Their skin may look a little blue and grey around the lips and extremities.

This is a serious situation, the patient should lay down on the ground, with their legs by 15 -30cm this will allow the blood in the legs to flow back to the parts of the body that need to the blood the most. The patient should remain in this position being monitored carefully until the emergency services arrives.

Elevating the legs encourages the blood to flow from the legs increasing the volume of blood in the upper body and brain.

Initially this will make the patient feel better, it will also help to keep them alive.

It is also important to keep the person warm, cover them with a blanket, coat or clothing to keep them warm and comfortable, some first aid kits contain foil blankets.

Hypovolemic shock is a 999 emergency. Even if the patient starts to feel better, they must remain laying down with their legs raised until the EMS arrives.

There are milder forms of shock, one type is fainting. Fainting can be distressing and can occur because of a lack of oxygen to the brain, this can make you feel dizzy and could cause you to faint.

When people faint, they often come round very quickly.  Treatment for fainting would be the same, get the person to lay down with their legs elevated, this should soon make them feel better, cover them to keep them warm and encourage them to remain in that position for a while.

When they feel better, they should sit up gradually and slowly and make sure they are still OK before standing.  Rising to their feet quickly after fainting may well cause them to faint again.

In most cases fainting is not a serious issue, however if someone is fainting regularly, they should seek advice from their GP