What is the first aid treatment for breathing problems?

 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Emergency Medicine
The following are the signs and symptoms of a breathing problem:
  • pale and/or blue face, lips or nail beds
  • noisy breathing, wheezing
  • cough
  • inability to catch breath or shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing, greater than 20 breaths per minute
  • pain while taking a breath

The following are first aid treatment guidelines for breathing problems:
  • Sit the victim upright with support.
  • Loosen clothing.
  • If on medication for breathing problems, help with medications.
  • If a known history of over-breathing from anxiety exists, speak calmly and attempt stress reduction by identifying the fear. Direct victim to a quiet place.
  • Reassure and remain with victim until improved.
  • If breathing does not return to normal shortly get medical help.
  • Do not ignore someone over-breathing.
  • Do not force victim into an uncomfortable position.
Doc's First Aid Guide: Read It Before You Need It

More About this Book

Doc's First Aid Guide: Read It Before You Need It

In a medical emergency, time is of the essence. "Doc's First Aid Guide" is an illustrated, first-aid pocket handbook designed to be used as a quick reference and includes the latest CPR guidelines....

Continue Learning about First Aid For Medical Emergencies & Conditions

Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Emergency Department
Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Emergency Department
In the movie Pay It Forward, the storyline is all about doing good deeds for strangers who, in turn, pass on a good deed to someone they don’t know. O...
Read More
What should I do if my child swallows a small toy?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
The number one thing is safety -- make sure your child playing with toys that are appropriate fo...
More Answers
When assessing a person, what are signals of life-threatening injuries?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
Signals of life-threatening injuries include trouble breathing, no breathing, irregular breathing an...
More Answers
How Lifesaving CPR Works
How Lifesaving CPR Works

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.