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What are the symptoms of shock in children?

Shock occurs when a person’s blood pressure drops so low that the body’s tissues are unable to obtain enough blood and oxygen. This causes the organs to function poorly resulting in the symptoms that are associated with shock. Symptoms may vary depending on the cause as well as the severity of shock involved. Children may initially present with decreased urination, cool extremities, increased heart rate and fussiness which then progresses to poor feeding, rapid breathing, lethargy, mottled skin and absence of urination as the shock worsens. Children in any degree of shock require immediate medical attention.

Children in shock often have the following symptoms:

  • pale skin
  • altered level of consciousness
  • increased heart rate
  • low blood pressure (a late sign of shock in children, unlike adults)  

The most obvious symptoms of shock in children are dizziness accompanied by a paleness of the face, lips and palms. The symptoms of shock in children usually appear late, or delayed. A reliable indicator to the onset of shock is sudden lethargy. Not so obvious, but also an effective indicator, is the unusual absence of urine output.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.