How to Help Someone Who Is Having Trouble Breathing
Anyone Can Suddenly Stop Breathing
Why Someone May be Having Difficulty Breathing
Many problems can cause an adult or child to suddenly have trouble breathing!
There are, in fact, several different health problems that can cause a person to suddenly begin to need help breathing. Breathing emergencies can be caused by allergic reactions, asthma, electric shock, heart attacks, and even some medications. Since it is essential to get help right away if someone is having difficulty breathing, it is important that we all learn how to quickly recognize asthma symptoms, as well as symptoms of other breathing emergencies. Although some are obvious, others can be very subtle.
If you have a family member who sometimes has difficulty breathing, you may even want to keep a rescue mask and pocket resuscitator on hand. They are very inexpensive and could make it easier for you to keep them alive until emergency personnel arrive.
Everyone Should Learn Proper CPR Procedure
Don't panic if someone faints or stops breathing, but go ahead and be prepared to start using the correct CPR procedure and call 9-1-1 immediately!
Since most high schools in the United States now require that all their graduates take a Red Cross approved CPR class, chances are good that you have been trained in proper CPR procedure sometime in the past. If so, begin CPR right away (or find someone else who has been trained). In addition, you or someone else should call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately. The emergency personnel will give you further instructions, and can even walk you through the steps of CPR if it has been a while since you have had a reason to use it.
If you are alone, call 9-1-1 and then start CPR. You want to make sure that emergency personnel are on their way as quickly as possible. Continue to administer CPR until they show up.
Learn the Heimlich Maneuver
If someone begins choking while eating food, their breathing emergency will be different than if they faint and stop breathing. Instead of immediately starting CPR, you may need to do the Heimlich maneuver.One symptom of a choking emergency is if the person is gasping for breath, or clutching their throat. If you see this happen, ask the person if they are choking. If they nod their head, attempt the Heimlich maneuver. If it doesn't solve the problem quickly, call emergency medical personnel. While you are waiting, keep trying the Heimlich maneuver. In addition, remember that some medicines can cause breathing problems. Ask if they have taken any medications.
This Is The First Aid Book I Keep Handy to Help With All Kinds of Medical Emergencies
Subtle Symptoms of Breathing Difficulties
Someone who is having a breathing emergency may not faint, stop breathing or begin choking. There are other symptoms of breathing problems that may be more subtle. For example, the victim may begin breathing unusually slowly or rapidly, or their breath can be especially deep or shallow. It is also a concern if someone begins wheezing, gurgling or making other sounds. These may be asthma symptoms. Ask if they have an asthma inhaler that they use for asthma, or if there is other medication that they need. Most people who use asthma inhalers keep them handy. Again, call for assistance.
Another possible cause of breathing difficulties is that they could be having a heart attack! There are additional clues that could indicate a heart problem. Look at their skin. Are they sweating heavily? Is their skin moist? Or is their skin suddenly pale or flushed? Are their lips beginning to look bluish? All of these are cause for alarm! Be concerned, as well if the victim is dizzy, light-headed, or experiences chest pain. These symptoms could signify a heart-attack, heat stroke, cardiac asthma or other serious problem. Have the patient sit down and try to relax while you call 9-1-1.
If you want to be prepared for an emergency, you will take First Aid Courses whenever you have the opportunity. You could save a life.
Source: American Red Cross First Aid courses and literature.