Preventing and managing shock is a matter of life and death in emergencies. When the circulatory system stops working to deliver blood to the body, shock occurs. If the heart beats irregularly, if blood vessels become too dilated, or if a person is losing too much blood, shock may occur.
The symptoms of shock are a weak and rapid pulse; disorientation; dizziness or confusion; cold, clammy skin and hands and pale skin; extreme thirst; nausea and vomiting; high level of anxiety; and fingernails that do not blanch with applied pressure (turn white when pressed and color does not return within two seconds).
If someone is in shock, elevate her legs, keep her warm, and turn her head to one side if neck injury is not suspected
In emergency situations you must guard the person against shock. Call 911 for help immediately, because you cannot manage shock alone for long, and the person is likely to go into cardiac arrest. Check the ABCs continually while waiting for help and begin CPR if needed.
If the head, neck, back, hips, or legs are not injured, lay the person on the ground facing up and elevate the legs to keep critical blood flow to vital organs. Use a towel, a sanitary napkin, or a piece of clothing to apply pressure to open wounds to slow bleeding.
Keep the person calm, comfortable, and warm, but never give the person water, even if they claim to be very thirsty. Monitor the person for consciousness and ABCs continually until help arrives.