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Shock is caused by not enough oxygenated blood getting to the brain and other body tissues.

There are two common types of shock[edit | edit source]

  • Hypovolemic shock — Not enough blood. Caused by massive internal or external bleeding; or severe dehydration.
  • Anaphylactic shock — Whole-body allergic reaction.

Making the scene safe[edit | edit source]

  • BSI (Body substance isolation) and Initial assessment.
  • Is whatever injured them going to injure you?
  • Keep the person warm
    • but remember, A, B, and C come before E in order of priority. Manage life- threatening airway obstruction or bleeding and call 911 first.

Assessment[edit | edit source]

Signs and symptoms[edit | edit source]

  • Anxiety and restlessness progressing to unresponsiveness (fainting)
  • Increased, weak heart rate
  • Pale, cool, sweaty skin.
  • Increased, shallow breathing
  • May complain of thirst or nausea

Allergic or hypovolemic?[edit | edit source]

  • It is ok not to know what caused the shock – field treatment is almost identical.
  • They are differentiated in the field by finding out the MOI (cause).
    • Severe bleeding, vomiting, or diarrhea? Suspect hypovolemic.
    • Any severe injury, even without apparent bleeding? Suspect hypovolemic.
    • Allergic to bees or peanuts and just exposed? Suspect anaphylactic.

First aid treatment[edit | edit source]

Hypovolemic shock[edit | edit source]

  • Call 911 at first sign of shock. Do not wait for symptoms to worsen.
  • Stop any bleeding.
  • Reassure and comfort person. Keep them talking.
  • Monitor ABCs. Check respiratory rate every 5 minutes until help arrives.
  • Shock position:
    • Lying down
    • (no longer recommended) Legs elevated 12 inches if no spinal or pelvic injury
  • Loosen clothing that may be binding
  • Maintain healthy body temperature: warm and dry. Pad under, blanket over person.
  • If the person drools or vomits
    • Turn head to one side to prevent choking
    • If you suspect spinal injury, do not turn head. “Log roll” whole body.
  • DO NOT give anything by mouth.

Anaphylactic shock[edit | edit source]

  • Follow directions for hypovolemic shock.
  • While waiting for help:
    • If the person has an “epi-pen,” help them find and administer it.
  • Press tip into thigh tissue and hold for at least 10 seconds.
    • If the person does not have an epi-pen, you can prick 4 Benadryl gel-caps with a safety-pin, and squeeze the gel under their tongue.
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