Shock is a life-threatening medical condition whereby the body suffers from insufficient blood flow throughout the body. Shock often accompanies severe injury or illness.

Medical shock is a medical emergency and can lead to other conditions such as lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues & organ damage. It requires immediate treatment as symptoms can worsen rapidly.

Causes of Shock

  1. Heart conditions (heart attack, heart failure)
  2. Heavy internal or external bleeding, such as from a serious injury
  3. Dehydration
  4. Infection
  5. Severe allergic reaction
  6. Spinal injuries
  7. Burns
  8. Persistent vomiting or diarrhea

Signs And Symptoms Of Shock

  1. Rapid, shallow breathing
  2. Pale skin colour
  3. Cold, clammy skin
  4. Rapid, weak pulse
  5. Low blood pressure
  6. Dizziness
  7. Weakness
  8. Sweating
  9. Anxiety
  10. Confusion or unconsciousness.

First Aid

  • Call for immediate medical attention any time a person has symptoms of shock. Do not wait for symptoms to worsen before calling for help. Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • While waiting for help or on the way to the emergency room, check the person’s airway, breathing and circulation (the ABCs). Administer CPR if you are trained. If the person is breathing on his or her own, continue to check breathing every five minutes until help arrives.
  • Have the person lie down on his or her back with the feet elevated above the head (if raising the legs causes pain or injury, keep the person flat) to increase blood flow to vital organs. Do not raise the head.
  • Do NOT move a person who has a known or suspected spinal injury.
  • Keep the person warm and comfortable. Loosen tight clothing and cover them with a blanket.
  • Do not give fluids by mouth, even if the person complains of thirst. There is a choking risk in the event of sudden loss of consciousness.

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