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Shock: Symptoms and Management

By Justin Haagen on Jun 28, 2016 in Managing Medical Emergencies, Simple Life-Saving Skills

Any serious illness or injury has the potential to cause shock.

Shock develops when poor blood flow creates a shortage of oxygen to body tissues. If not treated early, it can get worse and become life threatening.

Signs of Shock

Shock is progressive in nature. Early signs can be difficult to detect. A person may simply appear uneasy, restless, or worried. Other more serious signs can emerge gradually over time. Responsiveness may diminish. The skin may become pale, cool, and sweaty. To limit the effects of shock, help the body maintain adequate oxygen by: Ensuring an open and clear airway. Ensuring normal breathing. Controlling any external bleeding.

Managing Shock

If there is no difficulty in breathing, lay the person flat on the ground. Maintain a normal body temperature. Insulate on top and underneath to prevent heat loss. Be careful not to overheat.

If you suspect a serious injury, do not move person. Tuck blanket underneath. Give nothing to eat or drink, even if the person asks for it. Keep the person as comfortable and calm as possible.

Reassess regularly until another provider or EMS take over.

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