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Shock is the failure of the circulatory system to provide adequate oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body. When vital organs do not receive enough oxygen- rich blood, they fail to function properly.

Causes of shock can include decreased blood volume, disturbances of the heart rhythm and damage to the nervous system.

Signs and Symptoms

Initial signs:

  • Pale, cold and clammy 
  • Usually a weak, rapid pulse 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Faintness or dizziness

Signs and symptoms of severe shock may include all of the above as well as: 

  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Thirst 
  • Drowsiness/confusion 
  • Collapse and unconsciousness

First Aid Management 

  • Control any bleeding 
  • Reassure the casualty 
  • Seek medical aid urgently 
  • Raise the casualty’s legs above the heart unless fractured 
  • Loosen any tight clothing 
  • Maintain normal body temperature 
  • Do not give the casualty food or drink

What should you do?

We all respond to emergencies in different ways.

Whether trained or untrained, some of us are afraid we will do the wrong thing and make the situation worse.

If you are unsure about what to do, call for an ambulance.

The worst thing to do is to do nothing.