The pupils of the eyes are usually dilated
A conscious person in shock may complain of
thirst and have a feeling of weakness, faintness, or
dizziness. The victim may feel nauseous, restless,
frightened, and/or anxious. As shock deepens, these
signs gradually disappear and the victim becomes less
and less responsive to what is going on. Even pain may
not arouse the shock victim. Finally, the victim may
You will not likely see all the symptoms of shock in
any one case. Some of them may appear only in late
stages of shock when the disturbance of the blood flow
has become so great that the persons life is in serious
danger. Sometimes the signs of shock may be disguised
by other signs of the injury. You must know what
symptoms indicate the presence of shock, but dont ever
wait for symptoms to develop before beginning the
treatment for shock. Remember, every seriously
injured person is likely to develop serious shock!
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF
You should begin treatment for shock as soon as
possible. Prompt treatment may prevent shock or, if it
has already developed, prevent its reaching a critical
point. Keep the victim lying down and warm. If
conscious, the victim should be encouraged and assured
that expert medical help will arrive soon.
Keep an injured person warm enough for
comfort, but do not let the victim become
The best position to use to prevent or to treat shock
is one that encourages the flow of blood to the brain. If
possible, place the injured person on his or her back on a
bed, a cot, or a stretcher. Raise the lower end of the
support about 12 inches so that the feet are higher than
the head (fig. 14-15). If you cant do that and its
possible, raise the feet and legs enough to help the blood
flow to the brain. Sometimes its possible to take
advantage of a natural slope of ground and place the
victim so that the head is lower than the feet.
Of course in every case, youll have to consider
what type of injury is present before you can decide on
the best position. Here are some examples:
If a person has a chest wound, he/she may have
so much trouble breathing that you will have to
raise the head slightly.
If the face is flushed, rather than pale, or if you
have any reason to suspect a head injury, dont
raise the feet. Instead, you should keep the head
level with or slightly higher than the feet.
If the person has broken bones, you will have to
judge what position would be best both for the
fractures and for shock. A fractured spine must
be immobilized before the victim is moved at all,
if further injuries are to be avoided.
If you have any doubts about the correct position to
use, have the victim lie flat on his/her back. The basic
position for treating shock is one in which the head is
lower than the feet. Do the best you can under the
particular circumstances to get the injured person into
this position. In any case, never let a seriously injured
person sit, stand, or walk around.
Administer liquids sparingly, and not at all if
medical attention will be available within a short time. If
necessary, small amounts of warm water, tea, or coffee
may be given to a victim who is conscious. Persons
having serious burns are an exception. Burn victims
require large amounts of fluids. Water, tea, fruit juices,
and sugar water may be given freely to a victim who is
conscious, able to swallow, and has no internal injuries.
Slightly salted water is also beneficial. Never give
alcohol to a person in shock.
An injured person may or may not be in pain. The
amount of pain felt depends in part on the persons
physical condition and the type of injury. Extreme pain,
if not relieved, can increase the degree of shock. Make
Figure 14-15.Position for the treatment of shock.