Shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body experiences sudden loss of blood or fluids. When you’re in shock, your circulatory system loses its ability to function normally. As a result, you can’t deliver enough oxygen to the tissue cells throughout your body, which starves them of nutrients and contributes to organ failure.
Shock has several possible causes (for example, traumatic injury), but it’s often associated with severe bleeding.
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Signs and symptoms include:
- Unconsciousness or unresponsiveness;
- pale or ashen skin color;
- rapid heartbeat;
- weak pulse;
- low blood pressure;
- severely disorientated mental state;
More rarely, shock may occur after serious burn injuries or during an extreme emotional reaction (such as fear or panic).
What should you do if you see someone who is in shock?
- Treat any obvious source of shock, such as severe bleeding, or one that you’ve discovered from the primary survey.Raise the casualty’s legs and support them on a chair to aid in the restoration of blood flow to vital organs.
- Place a rug or blanket on them to keep them warm if possible.
- Dial 999 or 112 for emergency assistance and inform the ambulance controller you believe they are experiencing shock. Explain what you think caused it if possible.
- To ensure that their blood flow isn’t hindered, loosen any restrictive clothing around the neck, chest, and waist.
- Cover them with a coat or blanket while they’re waiting for assistance to come so that they’ll stay warm.
- If you can, reassure the victim and keep them calm if possible since fear and agony might aggravate shock by raising the body’s requirement for oxygen.
- Keep track of their response level.
- If they become unresponsive, assume an unconscious person and prepare to administer treatment.
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