A person in shock is usually very pale; but in
some cases, there may be a bluish or reddish color to the
A person in shock is often thirsty. No particular
harm will be done if you allow the victim to moisten his
The pupils of the eyes are usually dilated
mouth and lips with cool water. But, in general, there is
no need to give him anything to drink unless you are in
a position whereby medical assistance will not be
When the victim is conscious, the additional
available for along period of time.
symptoms of shock may be displayed. He may do the
When medical care is not available, you should give
the victim SMALL AMOUNTS of warm water,
complain of thirst;
preferably mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2
have a feeling of weakness, faintness, or
teaspoon of baking soda per quart or liter. This should
only be done when he is conscious, able to swallow, and
has not suffered internal injuries.
feel nauseous; or
In the case of burns, an exception must be made to
be very restless and feel frightened and anxious.
the rule of not giving a person liquids. A seriously
As shock deepens, these signs gradually disappear
burned person has an overwhelming need for fluids. It
and the victim becomes less and less responsive to what
is, therefore, a permissible and even desirable part of
is going on around him. Even pain may not arouse him.
first-aid treatment. Sweet tea, fruit juices, or sugar water
Finally, the victim may become unconscious.
may be given when the casualty is conscious and able
It is unlikely that you will see all of these symptoms
to swallow, has no internal injuries, and vomiting is not
of shock in any one case. Some of them appear only in
the later stages of shock when the disturbance of the
One final precaution must be given concerning the
blood flow has become so great that the victim's life is
use of liquids: NEVER GIVE ALCOHOL TO A
in serious danger. Sometimes the signs of shock maybe
PERSON IN SHOCK OR A PERSON WHO MAY GO
disguised by other signs of injury. It is important to know
INTO SHOCK. Alcohol increases the blood supply to
what symptoms indicate the presence of shock, but do
surface vessels, and it diminishes the blood supply to the
not ever wait for symptoms to develop before beginning
brain and other vital organs.
treatment for shock Remember, EVERY SERIOUSLY
INJURED PERSON IS LIKELY TO DEVELOP
Heat is important in the treatment of shock to the
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
extent that the injured person's body heat must be
conserved. Exposure to cold, with resulting loss of body
heat, can cause shock to develop or to become worse.
In many emergency situations, the most helpful
You must judge the amount of covering to use by
thing you can do for an injured person is to begin
treatment for shock. When shock has not yet developed,
considering the weather and the general circumstances
the treatment may actually prevent its occurrence; if it
of the accident. Often a light covering is enough to keep
has developed, you may be able to keep it from reaching
the casualty comfortable. Wet clothing should be
a critical point. As we have seen, shock creates a vicious
removed and dry covering provided, even on a hot day.
cycle; that is, the worse it is, the worse it becomes. It is
Use blankets or other dry material to conserve body heat.
extremely important that you begin treatment at the
Under normal circumstances, artificial means of
warming (for example, hot-water bottles, heated bricks,
or heated sand) should not be used. Artificial heat can
It is important to keep the victim as calm as possible
cause the loss of body fluids (by sweating), and it brings
because excitement and fright affects his condition and
the blood close to the surface, thus defeating the body's
may even bring on shock. Try to prevent the victim from
own efforts to supply blood to the vital organs and to the
seeing his injuries, and reassure him that he will receive
brain. Also, the warming agent may burn the victim.
proper care. Keep unnecessary persons away, as their
conversation regarding the victim's injuries may
KEEP AN INJURED PERSON WARM ENOUGH
FOR COMFORT, BUT DO NOT OVERHEAT HIM.