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First aid measures if you have been attacked by a shark

What to Do First if You've Been Attacked by a Shark


It's a profound mistake to think, that sharks attack everything that moves. Despite the fact, that sharks are natural born killers and deadly dangerous killing machines, they actually very rarely become man killers. In fact, all of undersea dwellers rarely bite people. But when it happens, it usually means a kind of protective response. Most likely, an animal's behaviour is governed by an instinct – it absolutely unconsciously takes a man for its prey or considers a man to be dangerous. But surely we can't deny the fact that situations may differ and some of them may end lethally. Sometimes a shark really can attack without any provocative action on the part of man and for no adequate apparent reason. So you should always be aware and ready to act. But in order to act properly, you must know what first aid measures to take and how you can help an injured person and even yourself in such situation.

First Aid Measures:

So, what to do first?

  • First of all you should get out of water and help an injured person to do the same. Don't be careless! Because, after a shark's bitten one person, it may not swim away, but still stay around. It's better if two and more people would help an injured person to get out of water, preferably from any water sports of floating equipment or craft.  It would also be great to have some kind of a pike poll or a boat-hook, or some kind of a strong pole or spar. It will help to fluff off a predator.
  • Don't forget to breathe and watch the injured person's breathing. Bites, even minor and not heavy, may lead to laboured breathing. Such complication may be caused by startle or shock. It's a well known fact, that sharks usually outstart and vigorously attack their prey all of a sudden. So, make sure that a sufferer’s breathing passages are open and nothing obstructs his/her comfort breathing.
  • When a person gets a wound, the most important first thing is to try to stop bleeding. For this purpose use a method of direct forward pressure. Compression band would suit better.
  • Try to clean up the wound, but remember, that in some cases it may cause a backward reaction. That's why in every particular case you should use the same common-sense.
  • After you've stopped the bleeding and cleaned the wound, if it was possible, bind it up and apply a dressing. (If the bleeding is too heavy and you can't stop it, continue pressing the wound directly and apply a compression bandage).



In no case try to tear off cloth adherent to the wound. It may hurt a sufferer even more. Better use scissors to remove the cloth with maximum carefulness.

If you apply a dressing, remember, that in most cases a dressing should be aseptic. What can be used as such?  Most often it can be a sterile first aid dressing package, a bandage, cotton, neat fabric. But if a wound is severe and you have nothing at hand to stop the bleeding, than, of course, you can use anything available at the moment to stop the bleeding.

The Kinds of Bleeding

Bleeding is an extravasation of blood from injured blood vessels. Bleeding can be a dismal result of different kinds of injuries, wounds and burns. Depending on a kind of a blood vessel injured there are different kinds of bleedings. Usually arterial, venous and capillary types of bleeding are specified.

Arterial bleeding

Arterial bleeding starts, when arteries are injured and is considered to be the most dangerous.

Signs of an arterial bleeding:

A pulsing jet of a bright red, scarlet coloured blood spouts out from the wound.

How to give aid?

First, lift up a bleeding area and apply a compression bandage. Then try to bend a limb in joint as far as it is possible and press blood vessels in that area with your fingers or with a garrot (a tight binding).

Then keep pressing the vessel above the wound. Press it with few fingers of both hands. The best way to stop arterial bleeding (in upper and lower limbs) is to apply a garrot (a tight binding).  To wrap the limbs with an all-round tightening band is an equal effective way to stop arterial bleeding. Of course, in such emergency case you probably may not have a garrot at hand (it is so in 99% of cases), so you can use any other available item. It can be a rubber tube, a handkerchief or a scarf, a leash, a belt, a rope e.t.c.

After you've tried to stop the bleeding, the wound needs to be aseptized.  You can degerm a wound with the iodine solution, potassium permanganate, pure (rubbing) or any other alcohol. But, of course, it doesn't mean that you should pour alcohol out of the bottle straight to the wound. For aseptizing use a piece of cotton wool or a cotton pad, or a surgical cloth. Drench a pad or a sponge with aseptic solution and wipe the wound edges externally.

Don't pour the solution inside the wound – this would only aggravate the pain, which is already severe enough, and also injure the tissue even more, retarding the process of its regeneration. If the wound is in abdominal area, the sufferer shouldn't eat or drink. In this case after the wound's been aseptized, a dressing is applied on the abdomen.


Venous Bleeding

Signs of the venous bleeding:

Unlike in arterial bleeding, in venous bleeding the blood flows slowly out of the wound. The colour of blood is usually dark.

How to give aid?

Lift the limb up, bending it in joint to the maximum, and put a compression bandage on the wound. If the bleeding is copious, press the vessel with your finger or with something else. But press it below the wound

Capillary Bleeding

Capillary bleeding starts when small blood vessels have been injured.

Signs of the capillary bleeding:

The wound is bleeding.

How to give aid?

First, apply a compression band. It can be a bandage or a surgical cloth, a handkerchief or neat fabric.

If the sufferer has extensive wounds of soft tissues, bone fractures, if large blood vessels are injured, then his/her limb(s) needs to be immobilized with the help of specific means.

Injury with the Limb Amputation

In such kind of a wound stop the bleeding first. For this purpose apply a garrot or a tight binding and then cover the wound with a dressing. The painkillers are usually used at this stage. Then it is necessary to put a gauze-cotton pad on a wound and fix it on a limb with alternate round and lateral wraps of a bandage.  At the same time it is necessary to call an ambulance.

What is Traumatic Shock?

Traumatic shock is the most dangerous and heavy after-effect of severe injuries. Most often this after-effect manifests itself through different disorders of central nervous system, blood circulatory system, of metabolism and through disorders of other vital functions.

Traumatic shock includes two different phases: excitement and inhibition. The excitement phase comes immediately after trauma as a certain response of the organism to the most severe acute pain.  The sufferer may show anxiety, but most often he/she screams and tosses and thrashes about. Sometimes pleads for help. This phase lasts only about 10-20 minutes.

Then comes inhibition. At that moment the sufferer is really conscious of what is happening and doesn't ask for help any more. The fact is that his/her body had already responded for him/her. At this phase the body of the injured person becomes cold, face gets pale, breathing becomes faint, barely noticeable.

What to Do if Somebody has a Traumatic Shock?

Firstly, make the sufferer lie down. His/her legs should be placed higher than his/her head. Make sure that sufferer's breathing was not obstructed and nothing impeded his/her comfort breathing.

The tongue must be fixed, if it is falling back, the mouth should be cleaned, and the neck and chest should be freed from tight clothing.

You should give the sufferer breathing mouth to mouth or mouth to nose.

It's Important to Remember!

It's extremely important to remember, that though the symptoms of trauma, caused by undersea dwellers, usually vanish in a day or two, sometimes they reappear. Secondary symptoms can manifest themselves much more intensively than primary symptoms. That's why, in case if you will feel discomfort, please consult a doctor immediately!

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