Shock is a complex clinical syndrome, a life threatening condition where all the functions of the body are depressed. Shock can be due to trauma or an injury, a severe infection (Septic shock), or loss of bodily fluid, especially blood (Hypovolemic shock), heart failure (cardiogenic shock), dehydration, burns etc. In shock, there is decrease amount of blood flow and therefore decrease in the oxygen content in the body.
To know what shock is and what is its first aid; you have to recognize the symptoms of shock. Following are the presenting symptoms of shock.
- Pale and cold clammy skin.
- Shallow breathing.
- Rapid and weak pulse.
- Altered conscious level or patient is in unconscious stage.
- Pupils are dilated.
- Vomiting and nausea.
- Profuse sweating.
- Excessive bleeding.
- Fainting or dizzy feeling.
- Lips and tongue turn blue (cyanosis).
- Dullness in eyes.
First Aid for Shock Victims
Before giving the first aid, know the possible cause for shock. Meanwhile call the local medical emergency number. You can stay on line and take instruction for proper first aid treatment, if the condition of the patient worsens.
- Assess the condition of the patient; assess his injuries for e.g. injuries caused in a motor accident, or a building collapse.
- Remove him out of the situation if possible to a safe place before starting the treatment for shock victims.
- See that the victim is breathing properly and his airway is open. Use a head tilt and chinlift position to keep the airway open.
- Talk to the victim if he is conscious.
- Look for injuries such as bleeding, which you may be able to stop.
- Loosen the tight fitting clothes around the neck and waist.
- Keep a check on his pulse.
- Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation if there is breathing difficulty and the pulse is feeble and weak.
- Cover the victim with a light cloth and keep him warm and comfortable.
- Lay him on his back if the victim is conscious and elevate his legs eight to ten inches above the ground level.
- Do not give any liquid or food to the victims to prevent vomiting.
First aid for Electric Shock Symptoms
- Shut the electric current. Remove the fuse from the fuse box or remove the plug or the best way is to turn off the circuit breakers.
- Call for emergency medical help.
- Do not touch the victim till you ensure that the power supply has been disconnected.
- Be careful in bathrooms and wet areas as water is good conductor of electricity.
- Use a wooden stick or a broom or a wooden chair to push the victim away from the current. Do not use metal objects.
- Check the victim’s airway, breathing and his pulse once he is free from the current source.
- If there is slow and shallow respiration, start CPR as first aid measure.
- If there are burns, remove the clothing and clean the area with cool running water.
- Keep the victim in head low position if he is pale, cold and clammy.
- If he has fallen from a height, look for other injuries but do not unnecessarily move him if there is a suspicion of spinal injuries.
- Reassure the victim and talk with him.