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Prevent Shock

Identify the procedures for preventing/controlling shock.

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Lesson 8
PREVENT SHOCK

INTRODUCTION

There are several causes of shock. On the battlefield, hypovolemic shock due to loss of blood from wounds or burns will be the primary type of shock present. If not properly treated, shock can be fatal. The procedures used to treat shock are also used to help prevent shock from occurring.

PREVENT SHOCK

TASK

Identify the procedures for preventing/controlling shock.

CONDITIONS

Given multiple-choice examination items pertaining to shock.

STANDARD

Score 70 or more points on the 100-point written examination.

IDENTIFY THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF
SHOCK

Loss of body fluids from severe bleeding, burns, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe heat illness.

Sweaty but cool (clammy) skin, pale skin color, and/or blotchy or bluish skin around the mouth.

Nausea.

Anxiety (casualty restless or agitated).

Mental confusion.

Increased breathing rate.

Unusual thirst.

POSITION THE CASUALTY TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Move the casualty to cover if possible.

Stop heavy bleeding and treat major wounds.

Normal Shock Position

Position the casualty on his back.

If possible, place a poncho or blanket under the casualty to protect him from the temperature or dampness of the ground.

POSITION THE CASUALTY TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Elevate the casualty's legs so his feet are slightly higher than the level of his heart. Place a small log, field pack, box, rolled field jacket, or other stable object under the casualty's feet or ankles to maintain the elevation.

If the casualty has a fractured leg, do not elevate the legs until the fracture has been splinted.

POSITION THE CASUALTY TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Shock Positions for Special Injuries

Certain casualties are not placed in the normal position for shock. Check for and splint fractured limbs before moving the casualty.

Suspected fracture of the spine. Do not move a casualty with a suspected spinal fracture or severe head wound. Do not elevate his legs.

Open chest wound. Place the casualty in a sitting position with his back to a wall, tree, or other support or lying on his injured side.

POSITION THE CASUALTY TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Open abdominal wound. Place the casualty on his back with his knees flexed.

Minor head wound. Place the casualty in a sitting position with his back to a wall, tree, or other support or lying on his side with the wound away from the ground.

Unconsciousness. Position an unconscious casualty on his side with his head turned so fluids can drain from his mouth.

TAKE ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Reassure the Casualty

Keep the casualty calm.

Tell the casualty that you are helping him. Be confident and have a "take charge" attitude.

Do not make comments regarding the casualty's condition.

Loosen the Casualty's Clothing

Loosen any binding clothing, including boots, if you are not in a chemical environment.

Do not loosen or remove clothing in a chemical environment.

TAKE ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Keep the Casualty From Being Too Warm or Too Cool

In warm weather, move the casualty to a shade or erect an improvised shade using a poncho and sticks or other available materials. Do not cut off air flow. Fan the casualty with a shirt or other material.

In cool weather, cover the casualty with a blanket, poncho, or other materials to keep him warm and dry. Place a poncho under the casualty to prevent chilling due to contact with cold or wet ground.

TAKE ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO
PREVENT/CONTROL SHOCK

Seek Help or Evacuate Casualty

A combat lifesaver should administer intravenous fluids to help control shock if hypovolemic shock is present. An intravenous infusion can be started before a fracture is splinted.

Evacuate the casualty if practical.

If you leave the casualty to seek help, tell him you are going to get help and will return. Turn the casualty's head so fluids can drain from his mouth.

PREVENT SHOCK

CLOSING

Hypovolemic shock can be fatal if fluid loss is not controlled and fluids are not replaced. Administering fluids by intravenous infusion is one of the primary combat lifesaver skills and will be covered in the medical phase of the course. This lesson is tested on the written examination.

Questions