Home First Aid

Week 4



Shock is defined as a disturbance with the circulation of blood causing a lack of oxygen supply to the tissues of the body. When the cells of the body don’t get the oxygen and nutrients that they need to survive they begin to die and your body starts to shut down.

Organs start to die after!

Brain                             4-6 minutes

Heart                            needs a constant supply

Muscles                         2 hours

Abdominal organs          a number of hours

We can see from the top time frames that we cannot delay the treatment of shock, when the body starts going into shock it starts to shut down from the abdominal organs and the body natural survival mechanism starts moving the blood to the vital organs ( The heart and Brain)

Causes of Shock

There are three main causes of shock:

1.       Pump failure  - dealing with the heart

2.       Content failure  - dealing will the blood 

3.       Pipe failure  - dealing with the blood vessels

Pump Failure

From either a Heart Attack (MI), Angina or from a Trauma injury to the heart.

Content Failure

Through a loss of blood 

Pipe Failure

From the blood vessels (Arteries or Veins) dilating due to an injury to the body.

Types of Shock

1.       Haemorrhagic shock     (Content failure)

2.       Neurogenic shock         (Pipe failure)

3.       Cardiogenic shock        (Pump failure)

4.       Anaphylactic shock       (Pipe failure)

Haemorrhagic Shock

This is caused by the loss of whole blood due to external or internal injuries. (Blood loss)This can also be the result of excessive vomiting or diarrhea. (Fluid Loss, Dehydration) 

Neurogenic Shock

This will occur as a result of a spinal injury. (Causes blood vessels to dilate)

Cardiogenic Shock

This normally is caused by a Heart attack (MI) or Angina, the heart can’t cope with the extra pressure that is exerted on it and the body starts to build up fluid (blood) in the lungs and in the rest of the body.

Anaphylactic Shock

This happens because of an allergic reaction, the most common being an insect sting or bite.  (Insects or Snakes)

Signs and Symptoms of Shock

·    Restlessness, confusion, anxiety and disorientation.  Any other signs that the brain is not getting enough oxygen.

·    Pulse is weak and rapid.

·    Breathing rate increases in an attempt to increase the oxygen level in the blood.

·    Skin is cold, pale and clammy. 

·   The patient may complain of thirst, nausea and may even vomit.

Management of the Patient in Shock

Always treat the cause of the shock.  If the patient is bleeding stop the bleeding.  If the patient has a possible spinal injury, prevent any movement which could aggravate the injury.  Call for the help without delay.

1.    Clear, open and maintain the airway, especially in an unconscious patient.

2.    Check the pulse and stop and obvious serious bleeding.

3.    Calm and reassure the patient.

4.     A patient in anaphylactic shock is in serious trouble. Allow him to sit upright as this help him to breathe easier.  Do not delay in calling for help as swelling of the airway may cause a complete airway obstruction.

5.    Splint any fractures to reduce pain and prevent bleeding

6.    Cover the patient to maintain his body temperature.

7.    Do not allow the patient to eat or drink anything.

8.    Monitor the patient until your help arrives.


These articles are not meant to replace first aid training courses and Micange Trading, and owners thereof, shall not assume liability. It is strongly advised that you qualify for first aid training and revise it every 3 years.

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