Assessing Vital Signs -
Assessing vital signs ("vitals") is a key component of good first aid. It consists of taking a series of simple measurements that provide data about a body's function. These measurements can help reveal how sick or hurt a patient is and taken over time, assessing vital signs show whether the person is getting better or worse. While the full meaning of vital sign measurements might elude the lay person, a carefully documented series of vitals can be very helpful to the professionals who will eventually take over the care of an injured person.
Vital signs can be helpful even to a person with limited medical training. Vitals that are outside normal ranges typically indicate the need for some treatment or possible evacuation to a higher level of care. As an example: Anxiety, elevated heart rate, elevated respiratory rate and pale, cool, clammy skin may indicate shock, a potentially life-threatening medical condition. Shock is relatively easy to address, but it can go unnoticed if vitals aren't monitored.
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