Preventing & Treating Shock

Being "in shock" means that a person’s circulatory system is not working properly, and not enough blood or oxygen is getting to the vital centers of his brain and spinal cord.

The symptoms of shock are:
  • The patient’s pulse is weak or rapid, or he may have no pulse that you can find.
  • Their skin may be pale, or blue, cold, or moist.
  • Their breathing may be shallow or irregular.
  • They may have chills.
  • They may be thirsty.
  • They may get sick to his stomach and vomit.
A person can be "in shock" whether he is conscious or unconscious. All seriously injured persons should be treated for shock, even though they appear normal and alert.

Shock may cause death if not treated properly, even though the injuries which brought on shock might not seem to be serious enough to cause death. In fact, a person may go into shock without having any physical injuries.

Treating Shock
  • Keep the patient lying down and keep him from getting chilled, but do NOT apply a hot water bottle or other heat to his body.
  • Loosen their clothing.
  • Keep their head a little lower than his legs and hips. But, if he has a head or chest injury, or has difficulty breathing, keep his head and shoulders slightly higher than the rest of his body.
  • Do not give the patient liquids.