Shock occurs when the blood flowing through the victim’s body is not sufficient. The condition is life-threatening and should be treated as an emergency. Due to the insufficient blood flow, shock leads to shortage of oxygen within body organs and death. Shock causes heart attack, organ damage, severe illnesses and injuries.
There are 5 Different Types of First Aid Shocks:
- Septic shock:
Occurs from infections affecting the whole body that lead to low blood pressure. It affects infants, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems. Any bacteria, fungi and some viruses can cause septic shock. The toxins from these bacteria and fungi lead to tissue damage which result in organ malfunctions and low blood pressure.
Some risk factors include: bone marrow and organ transplant, current use of steroids medicine, surgery and medical procedures, recent infection, lymphoma, long term use of antibiotics, leukemia, indwelling catheters, diseases that compromise immune system, diabetes, intestinal system, genitourinary system and biliary system. It affects different parts of the body including: the liver, brain, intestines, brain heart and kidneys.
2. Anaphylactic shock:
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction affecting the whole body. When reacting to allergies, the body releases histamine which causes the airway to tighten and inflammation in other body organs.
The same reaction can occur when an individual is exposed to certain drugs for the first time. These medications include aspirin, x-ray dye and morphine. Other causes of Anaphylaxis include insect stings and foods.
Anaphylaxis can cause death and its symptoms include: unconsciousness, swelling on the face, face and eyes, slurred speech, palpitations, nausea/vomiting, nasal congestion, itching/hives/swollen skin, difficulty in breathing, difficulty swallowing, chest discomfort, abdominal pain and feeling anxious.
3. Cardiogenic shock:
This type of shock occurs from heart problems. In this case the heart is damaged and cannot pump blood as it should. Usually it results from heart attack/myocardial infarction and other serious heart conditions. The common causes of Cardiogenic shock include:
- Problems with heart electric systems that cause the heart to beat at a slower pace.
- Rupturing of the wall between the right and left ventricles.
- Tearing of tendons or muscles that hold the heart valves, more so the mitral valve.
- When fluid builds up around the heart exerting pressure on it.
- Abnormal heart rhythms such as supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.
- Rupturing of heart muscle as a result of heart attack.
- When a section of the heart cannot move.
4. Hypovolemic shock:
It results from excessive loss of blood and body fluids. That is, when a person loses a fifth or more of their blood content. The heart cannot pump sufficient blood for the body organs. Lose of blood occurs when a person is injured in cases of internal bleeding, injuries and cuts. Excessive loss of body fluids occurs is vomiting, excessive perspiration, diarrhea and burns.
5. Neurogenic shock:
Occurs from damage to the nervous system. It is common with spinal cord injuries from accidents and other forms of injuries.
General Symptoms for Shock Include:
- Weak pulse
- Rapid pulse
- Clammy/cold skin
- Slow breathing
First Aid for Shock
Procedure for offering first aid for shock victims is available in first aid certification courses. First aid certification provides skills on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of shock and offer the necessary help to save the victims life.
- If you suspect the victim to be suffering from shock, immediately call for emergency medical services. Don’t leave the victim as you await help to arrive.
- Lay the victim down with legs and feet elevated about ten inches unless doing so causes more harm to the victim. If the victim has difficulty breathing, rather than elevating their feet, raise their head and shoulders about ten inches.
- Avoid moving the victim unnecessarily as it may worsen the victims condition. Check for any tight clothes and loosen them to allow for free flow of blood.
- Check for signs of life. You can talk to them and see if they respond, listen to their breathing or see breathing signs such as rising and falling of the chest. You can also check for body movement and coughing.
- If the victim doesn’t show any signs of life, start performing CPR immediately. CPR will keep the victim alive by maintaining blood circulation. If you are not CPR certified, get someone who holds a CPR certification.
- The procedure involves 100 chest compressions per minute. After each 30 chest compressions give the victim mouth to mouth resuscitation.
- However, if you are uncomfortable giving mouth to mouth resuscitation especially to a stranger, the chest compression will also help keep the victim alive. If the AED is available, let a CPR certified person use it.
- The AED device analyses the state of the victim and provides shocks when necessary. It provides visual prompts that guide the user. Knowledge on the use of the AED and CPR are available in online CPR certification programs.
- Do not give the victim anything to eat or drink. It might worsen the condition through choking.
- If the victim is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, lay them on their side to prevent choking. Do not turn persons suspected to have spinal injuries.
- Let the victim remain covered with a warm blanket to prevent chilling. Victims of shock have challenges maintaining their normal body temperature due to insufficient blood in circulation.
- If the victim has injuries, provide the appropriate first aid. First aid training programs offer skills on the use of locally available materials to offer help to victims in emergency situations. These include injuries to different body parts.
First Aid for Bleeding
For those bleeding, wear disposable gloves and remove any dirt particles from the wound. Do not try to remove any deeply embedded or large objects. Also do not try to clean the wound or even probe it. If possible, keep the injured organ immobilized at a higher position than the victim’s heart.
Apply direct pressure on the wound with a clean piece of clothing or sterile bandage until bleeding stops. Press on firmly without removing the bandage or bind the cloth to the wound with a bandage to maintain the pressure. If blood soaks through the bandage, apply a clean bandage on top of the other and keep applying pressure. For embedded objects and eye injuries, don’t apply pressure.
If the bleeding persists, apply tourniquet. It should only be done by trained persons in cases of excessive bleeding. When professional help arrives, inform them for how long you’ve had it in place.
First Aid for Sprains and Broken bones/fractures
Sprains occur with ligaments and tendon injuries. Fractures occur when a bone is broken or cracked. Avoid moving injured persons unless to safety.
The first step is to keep the injured part immobile. You can use a splint or improvise a sling. To splint place a rigid material next to the injury and tie it in place below and above the injury. Don’t tie it too tightly as it could inhibit blood flow. Avoid straightening the injured part as it could worsen the injury.
For dislocated joints, take rest, keep the injured organ elevated and apply ice on it. When icing, apply ice for 20 minutes taking three to four hour breaks. Don’t apply the ice directly on the skin as it could cause damage to the skin. Instead, wrap the idea in a thin towel before applying on the injury.
Most sprains will heal on their own. You should always get x-rays done to define the type of injury. In case of a sprain ice the injury as soon as possible for 20 minutes at three to four hour intervals to reduce and prevent swelling. Compress the injury with a bandage and keep it elevated. You can apply ice on the bandage.
First Aid for Allergic reaction
Severe allergic reactions are dangerous and should be treated as emergencies as they can lead to anaphylaxis. It is important to be prepared if you are at risk. Always have a means of communication within reach such as a mobile phone. Have an adrenaline autoinjector with you all the time. Have medical identification jewelry on you so that first aid responders can inject when necessary.
First Aid for Poisoning
Call up emergency medical help immediately. If the victim inhaled poison, immediately take them out to fresh air. If the substance taken causes irritation and burning effects, drink small amounts of water or milk. If you suspect the victim to have taken a poisonous substance, don’t induce vomiting. Instead rush them to the emergency room.
First Aid for Burns
Remove the victim from the source of heat. Run cool or lukewarm water over the burn for 20 minutes or until the burn has cooled. Do not apply ice or any other substances on the burn. Remove items, clothing and jewellery from the burn. Those stuck on the burn leave them unless it is stuck. Cover the victim with a blanket to keep them warm. Avoid any pressure on the wound. You can place a cling film over the burn.
Shock is life threatening. Knowing the causes and symptoms of shock will help in early recognition of victims suffering from shock. First aid classes provide training on the causes and how to offer assistance to shock victims. Shock progresses in stages and as time progresses it gets more difficult to save the victim. The earlier a shock victim is attended to the higher their chances of survival. First aid training prepares individuals for life threatening emergencies such as shock. You can easily enroll for an online first aid certification on your computer. The course is readily available and the certification is instant.
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