First Aid for Shock

Shock is a depressed condition of bodily functions; it may be the resultant of trauma, severe illness, infection, reduction in the oxygen level of the blood and other several causes. Mostly, a combination of two or more reasons exists. Shock may accompany other severe injury and must be taken care of before other injuries, except if the victim has ceased to breathing, is bleeding profusely, or has ingested poison. 

Shock Occurs When

The circulatory system supplies blood to all parts of the body, offering oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.  If the circulatory system collapses, and insufficient oxygen reaches the cells, the medical condition termed as shock is witnessed.  If the condition is not treated immediately, the vital organs can collapse, eventually leading to death.  Fear and pain aids to the shock.

Causes of Shock

Shock can be witnessed when the heart pump cease to perform properly, causing a cut down in the pressure of the circulating blood.  Heart attack is one of the most general reasons of shock.

Shock can also be experienced as a result of a decrease in the quantity of fluid circulating all over the body. The most common exemplification of this is external or internal bleeding, or loss of other fluids through severe diarrhea, vomiting, or burns available in the body for survival. The blood supply is pushed from the surface to the core of the body. The main signs of shock can associate with such redistribution of the circulation.

Identifying Shock

Initially, a release of adrenaline leads to:

  • A rapid pulse

  • Pale, grey skin, particularly inside the lips. If pressure is applied to a fingernail or earlobe, it will not get back it original color instantly

  • Sweating, and cold, clammy skin 

As shock develops, there may be:

  • Giddiness and weakness

  • Nausea, and often vomiting

  • Intense thirst

  • Rapid, short breathing

  • A weak, light pulse.  When the pulse at the wrist stops, fluid loss may equal half the blood quantity.

As the oxygen supply to the brain reduces:

  • The patient may get restless, anxious and offensive

  • The patient may gasp for air or take yawn and gasp for air

  • The patient will ultimately faint

  •  Eventually, the heart will stop

First Aid Shock Treatment

Shock symptoms may not be visible for an hour or so after the injury. Hence it is suggested that first aid - shock should be offered to all seriously injured individual even when the symptoms of shock are not present. 

  • Do not allow the patient to move unnecessarily, eat, drink, or smoke.

  • Do not leave the patient attended. Reassure the patient continuously of his wellbeing.

  • Try to ward off or treat any cause of shock which can be remedied like external bleeding, vomiting etc.

  • Lay the patient down, keeping the head at a lower level than the body.

  • Elevate and support the patient’s legs.

  • Loosen tight fitting clothing, belts, braces, or straps in order to reduce hindrances at the neck, chest and waist.

  • Insulate the patient from cold, both above and below.

  • Call for emergency service immediately.

  • Check and keep track of breathing, pulse and kind of response. Be prepared to resuscitate the patient if required.

  • Elevate the lower part of the victim's body to 8-12 inches in case he has lost a big amount of blood, but if raising the legs leads to pain or further injury, keep him at normal level. 

  • If medical help is delayed, offer the shock victim half-glass of a salt and soda solution on every 15 minutes. This solution is made by adding one pinch of baking soda and two pinches of salt in a fresh and clean glass of water. Give the victim a few sips at a time to confirm that he can consume the liquid without feeling ill and uncomfortable. Stop feeding fluids if the patient becomes nauseous, and try again cautiously after some time. Resume to normal fluid intake after two to four hours only.

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