Thursday, October 15, 2009

Treating Shock

Almost every crisis situation can result in victims suffering shock, either from physical trauma or from emotional trauma.

Shock is a medical problem caused by loss of blood pressure and subsequent loss of blood delivery to the brain. The causes of shock can be physical blood loss (external or internal) due to a severe injury, or from the effects of an emotional or psychological trauma that does not involve physical injury.

Symptoms of shock include:
  • pale, cool, clammy skin  
  • rapid but weak pulse
  • rapid breathing
  • anxiety or confusion
  • low blood pressure
  • feeling dizzy or faint
When a person suffers shock, he or she might collapse and fall to the ground. It's the body's way of trying to get the head lower than the rest of the body, to restore blood flow to the brain. Rather than wait for the victim to faint, place him in a horizontal position (on the ground, on a bed, on the couch, in the bed of a truck — anyplace safe from further falling) and, unless there is severe bleeding in the upper body or head, elevate the lower extremities slightly higher than the head.

NOTE: Bleeding is a top priority so always stop the bleeding first.

Cover the individual with a blanket to maintain body warmth, because the lack of circulation will tend to cool the victim's body core.

Monitor life signs and note times and changes of patient conditions so you can relate that information to medical personnel.

It is possible that an internal organ trauma that is not detectable from outside observation is the cause of the shock, so it is always advisable to transport the patient to an emergency medical facility as soon as possible.

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