The term “shock” is often misunderstood. It can conjure up images of someone dealing with a traumatic experience being “cured” or comforted with a cup of sugary tea! But shock in medical terms relates to a physiological and potentially life-threatening condition.
To help you understand what type of shock we are talking about, here are some pointers for understanding,
What is Shock?
Shock is the reduction of blood & oxygen to the organs and tissues of the body due to a problem with circulation. If untreated, shock can be fatal.
What causes Shock?
Shock is usually caused by a drop in blood pressure. This reduces the amount of oxygen to your vital organs and tissues.
The drop in blood pressure can be commonly caused by high volume blood loss (hypovolaemic shock), problems with the heart (cardiogenic shock) and severe allergic reactions (anaphylactic shock) among other things
What are the signs & symptoms of shock?
Someone suffering from shock will likely show the following symptoms:
- Pale & clammy
- Irregular breathing
- Loss of consciousness
What is the treatment for
If you suspect someone is suffering from shock, you should do the following:
- Call 999 and describe the symptoms to the emergency services
- Try to control/stop any bleeding that may be occurring
- Lay the casualty down and raise their legs – this encourages blood to flow to the brain
- Keep the casualty warm, comfortable and as calm as possible
- Keep monitoring their breathing until Paramedics arrive.
Shock is always brought on by an underlying problem or condition. Recognising the symptoms and acting quickly to get further help is vitally important if you suspect shock.
We provide more in-depth information and training regarding shock on our First Aid for Sport & Exercise (FASE 1) course (link to FASE 1). We also offer further online content at www.lubasonline.com
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/first-aid/ (Shock section)