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Shock is a life-threatening medical condition and is a medical
emergency. If shock is suspected call 911 or get to an emergency department
The main symptom of shock is low blood pressure. Other symptoms include
rapid, shallow breathing; cold, clammy skin; rapid, weak pulse; dizziness,
fainting, or weakness.
There are several types of shock: septic shock caused by bacteria,
anaphylactic shock caused by hypersensitivity or allergic reaction,
cardiogenic shock from heart damage, hypovolemic shock from blood or fluid
loss, and neurogenic shock from spinal cord trauma.
Treatment for shock depends on the cause. Tests will determine the
cause and severity. Usually IV fluids are administered in addition to
medications that raise blood pressure.
Septic shock is treated with antibiotics and fluids.
Anaphylactic shock is treated with
(Benadryl), epinephrine (an "Epi-pen"), and steroid medications (solu-medrol).
Cardiogenic shock is treated by identifying and treating the
Hypovolemic shock is treated with fluids (saline) in minor cases,
and blood transfusions in severe cases.
Neurogenic shock is the most difficult to treat as spinal cord
damage is often irreversible. Immobilization, anti-inflammatories such
as steroids and surgery are the main treatments.
Shock prevention includes learning ways to prevent heart disease,
injuries, dehydration and other causes of shock.