Notes: Shock and Seizures


Shock can be caused by: severe injuries, loss of bodily fluids, poisoning, infection, heart attack, stroke, gases, alcohol, drugs, lack of oxygen*

Shock can be made worse by abnormal changes in body temperature, pain, and a delay in treatment.

Some signs of shock:

-pale or bluish skin

-cold to the touch (might also be moist and clammy)

-the victim will be experiencing weakness

-rapid pulse which may be too faint to be felt at the wrist

-increased rate of breathing (may be irregular)


-apathy and potential relative unresponsiveness

-gone untreated: loss of consciousness, decrease in body temperature,  may result in death

Lay the victim down and cover him enough to prevent loss of body heat (using blankets and extra clothing wrapped both over and under him) and get medical help.

Avoid moving a victim suspected of having an injury anywhere on the spine unless absolutely necessary. Movement raises the risk of paralyzing the victim.

Make sure there is nothing obstructing the airway.

Raise the victim’s feet 8 to 12 inches (20.32 – 30.48 centimeters). If this increases pain or makes it difficult for the victim to breathe, lower the feet so the victim is again lying flat.

Fluids should not be given:

-while the victim is unconscious, nauseous or having convulsions

-“when a victim is likely to require surgery or general anesthetic, or when he appears to have a brain or abdominal injury” (quote from “Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” cited at the bottom of the post)

If medical care is  delayed or expected to be delayed (for certain, like when you’re in the middle of a forest and no one knows where you are) for at least an hour then you can give the victim a little water that isn’t too hot or too cold. It is preferable to have one teaspoonful of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water.

Adults: about half a glass/4 ounces around every 15 minutes.

Children (one to 12 years old): half the amount above.

Infants (one year or less): one ounce.

Stop if nausea or vomiting occur.


(The victim may have a condition which causes him to have seizures. If this is the case, he will likely tell you so when he wakes up and sees you after the seizure is over. F.ex: )

If artificial respiration must be given, the mouth-to-nose technique should be used.

It is not recommended that you attempt to stick your fingers in the mouth of someone having a seizure, as they could have an involuntary muscle movement resulting in them accidentally biting off your fingers. (But if the seizure is locking their jaws shut, this shouldn’t be a possibility anyway. It is, however, possible that their tongue might obstruct their airway during the seizure, but this varies with the type of seizure and the situation.)

Push away nearby objects to prevent accidental harm to the victim.

Loosen the clothing around the victim’s neck after the spasms stop.

Keep the victim lying down and make sure his airway stays open. When he is lying down, turn his head to the side to prevent him from choking to death on his own vomit.

Let the victim rest after the seizure is over.

Get medical help if convulsions occur again.



*=a condensed list ripped almost entirely out of the “Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” book


“The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide” Medical Editor: Charles B. Clayman, MD (ISBN: 0-679-41290-5)

“Standard First Aid and Personal Safety” (“Prepared by the American Red Cross”) (ISBN: 0-385-15736-3)