How to deal with shock

Shock is basically a state in which the body shuts down. The body goes into shock once there is not adequate blood and can lead to multiple organ failure. If not treated right away, it can result to life-threatening problems such as heart issues. You have to bear in mind that there are different varieties of shock such as anaphylactic, cardiogenic, hypovolemic and septic. All types of shock are considered life-threatening and the symptoms must be reported to healthcare professionals right away.

Causes of shock

Anything that can affect the blood flow throughout the body can lead to shock. The common causes of shock include the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Profuse blood loss
  • Allergic reaction
  • Diminished blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart failure
  • Blood infection

Signs and symptoms when an individual is experiencing shock

If you suspect that an individual is in shock, the following symptoms are present:

  • Skin is clammy and cool as well as appearing pale or grayish in color.
  • Pulse is fast and weak while the breathing can be shallow or slow or rapid. The blood pressure will also drop.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • The individual can be conscious or unconscious. In case he/she is conscious, the individual can feel very weak or confused.
  • There is lack of luster in the eyes and the individual seems to stare with pupils that are dilated.

What to do if shock is suspected


If an individual is in shock, position the individual flat on the floor with feet elevated and cover with a blanket.

If you suspect that an individual is experiencing shock, even if he/she seems normal after an injury, you have to perform the following first aid measures right after calling for emergency assistance:

  • Allow the individual to lie down on his/her back with the feet elevated higher than the head. In case elevating the legs causes pain or aggravate the injury, keep him/her in flat position.
  • Check the circulation, breathing and movement. If not present, perform CPR.
  • Provide comfort and keep the individual warm by loosening any tight clothing or belts and cover with a blanket. Avoid giving anything by mouth.
  • Turn the individual on his/her side to prevent choking in case he/she vomits or bleeds from the mouth.

How shock is diagnosed

The symptoms of shock are enough to diagnose a condition. The doctor will also check for low blood pressure, fast heartbeat and a weak pulse. The main priority is a life-saving treatment by getting the blood circulating through the body right away. Once the individual is stabilized, the doctor will diagnose what caused the shock by blood tests and imaging tests.

Can one fully recover from shock?

Complete recovery from shock is possible. Nevertheless, the recovery typically depends on how long the individual was in the state of shock. Factors that can affect the recovery process include the organs affected, length of nursing care, age, severity of organ damage and cause of the shock. Always remember that shock has a high risk of death thus it is critical to call for emergency assistance immediately if an individual is suffering from the symptoms.