Recognizing and Treating Victims in Shock

Learn how to recognize and treat victims of shock in case of a real emergency in your family or neighborhood.

| March 2018

  • Shock looks different on every person, and also depends on the type and severity of the injury.
    Photo by Pixabay/DarkoStojanovic
  • “The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook” by Scott Finazzo brings communities together to unite against dangers and catastrophes.
    Photo courtesy of Ulysses Press

The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook (Ulysses Press, 2015) by Scott Finazzo helps tech communities to work together when a crisis happens. Finazzo helps his readers build emergency family plans, treating victims of natural disasters, and establishing a neighborhood emergency response team to keep the neighborhood safe. The following excerpt is his guide to recognizing and treating victims in shock.

The term “shock” can refer to wide range of medical conditions. It means and looks like different things to different people. One important thing to keep in mind is that shock is not an actual diagnosis. It is a symptom of a bigger problem that requires medical attention as soon as possible. Shock can be caused by numerous things, such as an allergic reaction, blood loss, or severe infection. Basically, it occurs when, for whatever reason, blood flow or blood volume is not sufficient to meet the needs of the body.

Shock Recognition

• Early Stages
• Cool/sweaty skin
• Rapid pulse
• Anxiety
• Late Stages
• Weakness/dizziness
• Nausea/vomiting
• Rapid/shallow breathing
• Confusion
• Thirst
• Weakening pulse
• Cyanosis (blue around the lips and fingers)
• Loss of consciousness

Shock Treatment

• Lay the victim supine (on their back)
• Evaluate their ABCs
• Control bleeding if necessary
• Elevate the feet 6 to 12 inches
• Loosen clothing
• Provide cooling or warmth to make the victim comfortable
• Seek professional medical care as soon as possible

More from: The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook

Pet Precautions for a Natural Disaster

Reprinted with permission from The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook (2015), by Scott Finazzo and published by Ulysses Press.

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