Fainting & Shock: First Aid

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  • 0:00 Fainting from Shock
  • 0:27 Fainting
  • 1:57 Shock
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Shock, the medical kind, is a really serious and life-threatening condition, and fainting may be a sign of a serious problem as well. This lesson will go over the basic first aid techniques you should employ in either scenario.

Fainting from Shock

It can happen because you're extremely tired, have a heart condition, or are really shocked. It's called fainting. The shock that so often causes fainting in movies is most often associated with being really scared or emotional. However, there is an actual medical condition known as shock. Fainting, and namely shock, are really serious, so it's important you know what to do about it in terms of basic first aid.


Fainting is defined as a loss of consciousness as a result of a temporary lack of oxygen supply to the brain. Sometimes, fainting has no medical significance or consequences, and other times, it can point to serious issues like a heart condition. This means that you should always suspect something is seriously wrong as a fail-safe when you see someone faint. Better safe than sorry, right?. This is doubly true if the person experiences recurrent episodes of fainting.

Let's say it's you who is feeling like you're about to faint. What do you do? The first thing you need to do is to lie or sit down. Firstly, it helps push more blood to your brain, especially if you lie down. Secondly, you avoid seriously injuring yourself by not falling from a standing position. If you choose to sit down, put your head between your knees. When getting back up, make sure you do so slowly in order to minimize the chances that you'll faint again.

Now let's say that it's your friend who faints after hearing their favorite football team just lost the Superbowl. The first thing you need to do is place your friend on his back. Assuming he is breathing, raise his legs above his heart and loosen any restrictive clothing or belts. If the person doesn't come to within one minute, call 911. When the person is lying on their back, make sure to check their airway to ensure it's clear, and if you notice they are about to vomit, turn them on their side immediately so they don't choke on their own vomit. If your friend faints, and you notice he is not breathing, begin CPR and call 911 immediately.


While your friend was probably shocked to learn his favorite team didn't win (he did faint after all), the kind of shock that's really serious is the medical kind. In clinical lingo, shock is defined as a life-threatening condition characterized by an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the body's organs and tissues.

There are many causes of shock, such as a serious bacterial infection, horrendous blood loss, a severe allergic reaction, poisons, and plenty more. The point boils down to this: when a person is in medical shock, their organs are not getting enough life-sustaining oxygen delivered to them. This causes the organs and tissues in the body to begin to die. The person can easily suffer from serious organ damage and death as a result.

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