Shock occurs when the body is not getting enough blood flow and oxygen, which can lead to permanent organ damage or death. A sufferer will ultimately need hospital treatment but it’s important to administer as much basic aid as you can until help arrives.
Trauma, heatstroke, blood loss or an allergic reaction can all be responsible for shock; so early diagnosis, medical assistance and immediate treatment are all vital.
Here are the most important things you need to know when dealing with someone who is in shock.
Recognising ShockFirstly you need to be sure of what you are dealing with. The basic symptoms of shock include disorientation, racing pulse, heavy breathing, nausea, pale complexion and clammy skin. A vague expression in the eyes and even vomiting can also suggest somebody is suffering from shock.
Call for HelpTreating someone in shock is very much about making them as comfortable and safe as possible until medical assistance arrives. So as soon as you can; you or someone nearby should call for medical help immediately. You should stay on the phone to the operator until paramedics arrive as they may be able to give you vital help and assistance down the line.
Make the Patient ComfortabeUnless the area the person is in is deemed as dangerous, you should not try and move them; the key is to make them comfortable until help arrives. If you have to move them then simply get them to lie down gently; ensuring you don’t cause any further harm or injuries. If possible elevate their legs around 10 inches above the height of their chest or head area – making sure to keep the head still at all times while you are doing so.
Loosen ClothingMake sure any restrictive clothing is removed or loosened, along with buttons, belts and zips and shoes that may be causing discomfort. If possible cover them with a coat or blanket until help arrives.
Ensure They Are BreathingIt’s vitally important that you make sure the person is still breathing. Look for signs that the chest is rising and falling, or listen at the mouth for evidence of breath. If they have stopped breathing you should carry out CPR immediately.
Keep Airway ClearIf the person is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth and nose there is a possibility they could choke. If this is the case you should turn them on their side and prop up their head with anything you have to hand, like a jacket or bag.
Treat InjuriesIf the person suffering from shock has been involved in some kind of trauma brought about because of an accident you may need to administer first aid. This should be kept to a minimum until medical help arrives, but stemming of bleeding and the securing of damaged limbs should be a priority.