What Is Shock And How To Treat It
Everyone has heard the term ‘shock’ when referring to the
medical condition, but it is often ill defined and misunderstood. To really understand what shock is, it must
be realized that every part of the body, from the cells to the tissues and
organs, needs a fairly constant supply of oxygen and glucose (sugar). These
two things feed the cells so that they can perform their metabolic functions, which in turn power the tissues and organs. When there is an interruption of this
process, when the cells are not getting oxygen and glucose, the body becomes
starved and begins to shut down. The
body will try to compensate for this by pulling as much blood back to the body
core as possible, but if shock continues, the cells will begin to die, then the
tissues and organs, and finally death will occur. The biggest cause of shock is blood loss,
although shock can also be caused by infection, dehydration, or congestive
The Symptoms Of Shock
Shock may be hard to identify, but there are some symptoms
that can help to pin down the cause of the victim’s distress. The patient will have a clammy, moist skin,
often with excessive sweating. The heart
will probably beat rapidly, but shallowly, and the pulse will be weak.
Breathing will likewise be shallow and rapid.
The person may be confused, or anxious, or even unconscious, and it is
important to begin treating them for shock immediately to prevent any further
deterioration of their condition.
Begin Treatment Right
If shock is suspected, start taking care of the victim
immediately. Call emergency services at
911, then try to see what is causing the condition. Bleeding can be a major cause of shock, and
if this is the problem, take steps to stop the bleeding as much as possible
while waiting for help to arrive. The
most serious kind of bleeding is arterial bleeding and it can be discerned
because the blood will pump out as the heart beats. Apply a bandage and pressure immediately, and
do not let up until the paramedics arrive.
If you are unable to stop the bleeding this way, apply a tourniquet.
Check to see whether there is anything obstructing the
person’s breathing, and try to open the passage by tilting back the head, then
lifting the chin. A heart attack can
also cause shock, and in this case begin CPR.
Put The Person In The
The shock victim should be placed on their back with their
feet elevated ten to twelve inches above the head. Loosen their clothing so that nothing will
impair normal circulation. Cover them
with a blanket if they seem cool, and removed coverings if they are too
warm. Do not give anything by mouth, not
even liquids, and if they vomit, turn their head to the side and clean out
When the person is taken to the emergency room, the first
thing will be to administer oxygen. If
bleeding is the cause of the shock, a blood transfusion will be given. Medications to raise the blood pressure are
also often delivered intravenously, and the primary cause of the shock will be
determined and treated.
Shock is a very serious thing. While we offer first aid kits to fix injuries such as scraps bruises and even burns, someone suffering from shock needs emergency attention from paramedics. Know what to do before paramedics arrive and always keep a first aid kit handy, but never try to treat shock completely alone. Know when an injury is to much for you to handle without professional help.