Useful Notes on the different Types of Shock

Shock may be due to excessive loss of blood as occurs after internal or external haemorrhage, head injury, chest injury, dehydration due to severe diarrhoea or vomiting, burns, electric shock, poisoning, severe bacterial infection (bacteremic shock), a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock), overdoses with certain drugs like narcotics or barbiturates, or emotional shock due to personal happiness or sadness. Sometimes shock may result from a combination of any of these causes.

Shock is a very serious condition and if not handled promptly and properly may lead to death. So prompt and efficient first aid treatment is of paramount importance.

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Types of Shocks:

(i) Haemorrhagic shock

(ii) Neurogenic shock

(iii) Anaphylactic shock, and

(iv) Toxic shock.

But mainly there are two main types of shocks.

(i) Neurogenic shock (when nerves are involved but there is no blood loss).

(ii) Haemorrhagic shock (when there is excessive loss of blood due to severe injuries, burns or dehydration).

Signs and Symptoms:

The signs and symptoms of shock include dryness of mouth, blueness of lips, paleness of skin, coldness of skin, pupils dialated, vision blurred, anxiety, trembling, difficulty in breathing, fast pulse and temporary loss of consciousness.

Blood pressure is generally low; drops of perspiration appear on lips, forehead, palms, soles and armpits. He may be restless or lose alertness. He feels thirsty. Sometimes the patient may seem alert but may suddenly collapse.

Emergency Treatment of Shock:

In shock prompt and efficient treatment is required. Failure to do so may lead to death of the patient. Following tips should be observed:

(i) Remove the patient to a well ventilated area.

(ii) Remove the crowd tactfully so as to provide proper ventilation and relief of fear and anxiety to the patient.

(iii) Keep the patient quite in lying down flat position with head lowered and turned to a side. Raise the legs slightly upward by keeping a pillow under the legs so as to improve blood circulation.

(iv) If there is difficulty in breathing, raise the head and chest of the patient.

(v) Loosen the clothing’s but do not remove them.

(vi) Keep the patient warm with a blanket.

(vii) Do not give either hot or cold drink to the patient because he may require an emergency operation by the doctor.

(viii) Immediately arrange to shift the patient to a hospital.


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