What to Do for Health Problems 461
Heavy bleeding and shock
Heavy bleeding from a deep cut or tear can happen quickly and
is very dangerous. If a girl loses too much blood, she can go into
shock and die.
Warning signs of shock (one or more of the following):
• severe thirst
• pale, cold, and damp skin
• weak and fast pulse (more than
100 beats per minute for a girl over
10, or over 140 beats per minute
for a girl 2 to 10 years old.)
feel here for
• fast breathing (more than
30 breaths per minute)
• confusion or loss of consciousness (fainting)
What to do:
• Get help immediately. Shock is an emergency.
• Press firmly on the bleeding spot right away. Use a clean, small
cloth that will not soak up a lot of blood. Keep her lying down
while you take her to get medical help.
• Help her drink as much as she can.
• If she is unconscious and you live far from health services, you
may need to give her rectal fluids before taking her
If the cutting tool is not cleaned properly (disinfected) before and
after each use, germs can cause a wound infection, tetanus, HIV, or
• of wound infection: fever, swelling in the genitals, pus or a bad
smell from the wound, pain that gets worse.
• of tetanus: tight jaw, stiff neck and body muscles, difficulty
swallowing and convulsions.
• of shock (see the list above).
• of an infection in the blood (sepsis): fever and other signs of
infection, confusion and shock.
For signs of HIV or hepatitis, see the chapters on “HIV and
AIDS,” page 283, and “Sexually Transmitted Infections and Other
Infections of the Genitals,” page 260.
IMPORTANT If a girl begins to show signs of tetanus, shock, or
sepsis, take her for medical help right away.
➤ Signs of infection
can begin any time
during the first
2 weeks after
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012