How To Treat Someone In Shock

Everyday Illnesses Common Remedies
Treating A Person In Shock

A serious injury or illness can produce what is known as clinical shock. Clinical shock is a dangerous reduction in the flow of blood throughout the body which, if not treated, can cause the victim to collapse, fall into a coma and even die. Serious bleeding, heavy vomiting, diarrhea or widespread burns can all reduce blood flow to cause shock. Clinical shock is not the same as emotional shock (where someone for example receives bad news). Emotional shock usually only requires calming and comforting, although in the case of deep distress a doctor may give a sedative.

Warning Signs Of Clinical Shock

The body reacts to reduced blood supply by concentrating blood in the vital organs such has the brain, heart and kidneys. Less important areas like the skin and muscles are drained of blood and person becomes weak and pale. Symptoms include:

• Paleness, cold and clammy skin
• Fainting
• Anxiousness and nervousness
• Thirst
• Sweating
• Shallow rapid breathing with yawning and sighing
• Weak but fast pulse, sometimes the pulse is irregular

What To Do

1. Call for an ambulance:
United States: 911
Great Britain: 999
Europe: 112
Australia: 000
New Zealand: 111

2. Reassure the person and lay them down.

3. Loosen clothing around the neck, chest and waist.

4. Raise the legs on a folded coat or cushion to direct the flow of blood to the brain.

5. Cover the person with a coat or blanket to keep the body warm.

6. If they are thirsty, wet their lips.

7. If they have difficulty breathing, vomit or become unconscious, put them in the recovery position.

recovery position diagram

8. If breathing stops, administer CPR, see also how to do hands only CPR.

What Not To Do

1. Don't use a hot-water bottle or an electric heating pad, as they will draw blood to the skin and away from vital internal organs.
2. Don't give anything to eat or drink. Food or drink may prevent an anesthetic being given immediately if needed; it may also cause choking.
3. Don't move the person unnecessarily.
4. Don't allow smoking.

Note: Anaphylactic Shock
Severe allergic reaction can cause a general response known as anaphylactic shock. If this occurs, seek medical help as a matter of urgency.

Related First Aid Articles

How to treat burns and scalds: Fast and immediate tips.
How to treat someone with electric shock: Be aware of your own safety.
How to stop someone choking: Back slapping technique and abdominal thrusts.
How to treat seizures: Children and adults.
How to treat sunburn: Home remedies.
How to treat a sprain: Injured wrist or ankle.
How to stop someone bleeding: Fast acting treatments.

• Other health issues? See: How to treat common illnesses.

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