Shock occurs when the body’s internal organs aren’t getting enough blood flow. A person can go into shock for a variety of reasons including severe bleeding, vomiting, heart attack, spinal injury, or even certain drug overdoses. The symptoms of shock are fairly broad, but usually include weakness, clammy skin, fast heart rate, quick breathing, sweating, and thirst. If untreated, a person in shock may start to feel confused, lose consciousness, or go into cardiac arrest. That’s why it’s important to treat anyone who may be in shock as quickly as possible.
Keep in mind that when shock occurs as the result of an injury, it may not set in immediately. If you suspect someone is going into shock, call 911 as soon as possible and be prepared to initiate CPR if the person becomes unresponsive or loses consciousness. While you wait for emergency services to arrive, use the above tips to get a handle on the situation.
1: Lay the person down and elevate their legs and feet about a foot off the ground. Keep them still.
2: Treat any obvious injuries, including wounds, burns, or fractures.
3: Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck, chest, and waist.
4: Keep the person warm with a blanket or extra jacket.
5: Monitor the person’s skin color, breathing, and heart rate at regular intervals and note any changes. Do not give them any food or drink.
6: Reposition the person to their side if they begin vomiting (to prevent chocking)