Shock is like bleeding, one of those first aid emergencies that you will experience at some point in your life. As I stated in my video, “How To Treat Shock” this is one of the 3 first aid skills everyone needs to know to save lives. But, most people are unsure or confused about what to do in the case of shock. Now this is dangerous, because Shock is one of the three things you can die from. So we are going to give you some quick simple tips that could make a huge difference in your patients survival.
So what is shock and what can you do about it? First, let’s explain what Shock is. Quite simply put, it is a lack of blood flow to the brain. This can be very dangerous because brain cells can only live 4-6 minutes without oxygen. Because of this lack of blood flow to the brain, the body immediately goes into survival mode. In order for the body to survive the body has to get more blood for the vital organs, so it begins compensating by taking blood from one organ and giving it to another. As you know, when the body starts sacrificing one organ for another that organ is going to shut down. This begins a very dangerous domino effect. And it all begins by taking blood from the largest organ on the body, the skin. Now that’s good news, because skin cells can live hours without blood flow. So far not a big deal, right? But that’s also why your victim gets cold and pale. We will get back to this a little later, because it will become a problem for your victim.
Next the body will steal blood from the digestive tract. That’s why your victims tend to get nauseous, which can lead to throwing up. But again, not a big deal yet, unless they vomit. The early signs of shock can be behavior issues like being anxious, feeling restless and apprehensive, then the skin goes cool, pale and clammy (remember the body stole the blood for the brain), your heart rate increases and breathing becomes more rapid. But it becomes really serious when the victim goes unconscious or unresponsive. This means there is inadequate blood flow carrying oxygen to the brain to keep the brain awake. So if they are unconscious, they are in Shock.
So what does your body really need right now? More Blood! And you are just the person to give it to them. Simply place the victim in the Shock Position, which is lying the victim down and elevating their feet 6 inches for children and 12 inches for adults. This allows blood from the legs to flow back up into the core where all the vital organs are. This will interrupt or delay the shutdown process by tricking the body into thinking things are better than they really are. But, your work doesn’t stop there. Remember how the skin was cold, well if we don’t cover the victim quickly with a blanket, blood will be sent away from the vital organs and back out to warm-up the skin (remember the skin is the largest organ on the body, so the skin will get what it needs). So use a Thermal Blanket, it’s bright and shiny surface will reflect 90% of the victims heat right back on to them. This 5 x 7 ft. foil blanket will keep the victim nice and toasty, which will drive blood flow away from the skin and back into the core of the body where it’s needed.
At this point you still stay with the victim until help arrives. You will watch their breathing (watch the diaphragm, rise and fall) if they begin to vomit, quickly roll them onto their left side into the Recovery Position.