First Aid for Shock

Blood is distributed by the circulatory system to all parts of our body, carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. If our circulatory system fails, thus affecting the transportation of oxygen to tissues, shock occurs. This condition is worsened by pain and fear. The vital organs of a person who is suffering from this medical condition can fail, which can eventually cause death, if it is not treated right away.

Causes of shock

Shock can result from heatstroke, trauma, heart attack, poisoning, severe infection, allergic reactions, or many other causes. Shock usually develops because of a significant reduction in the volume of fluid that circulates around our body. Internal or external bleeding and loss of bodily fluids (through burns, severe diarrhea, or vomiting) are the most common examples.

Signs and symptoms of shock

There are many signs and symptoms that appear in persons experiencing shock. These include: cool and clammy skin that may appear gray or pale, weak and rapid pulse, shallow and slow breathing (or hyperventilation characterized by deep and rapid breathing), and below normal blood pressure. In addition, the eyes of the sufferer lack luster and the pupils are sometimes dilated. Some people in shock are conscious, while others are unconscious.

First aid treatment for shock

If you suspect a person is experiencing shock, even if he or she appears normal following an injury, contact your local emergency number or call 911. While waiting for medical help, lie the person down on his or her back and make sure the feet are higher than the person’s head. Keep the person flat if elevating the legs will cause further injury or pain.

You need to check the person’s signs of circulation such as breathing, movement, or coughing. Administer CPR if these signs are absent. Keep the person comfortable and warm. If he or she is wearing tight clothes, loosen them and cover the sufferer with a blanket. Also loosen braces, belts, or straps to reduce constriction at the person’s waist, chest, and neck. Reassure the person constantly.

What you should not do

If a person is experiencing a shock, do not let him or her to move unnecessarily, drink, smoke, or eat. Even if the victim complains of thirst, do not give him or her by mouth. In addition, you must not leave the person unattended.


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