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First Aid & Emergencies

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Hyperventilation Treatment

 Call 911 if the person has:

  • Chest pain, including pain that is crushing, squeezing (feels like a heavy weight on the chest), or is sharp and stabbing, especially if it is worse with deep breaths
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fevers or chills

1. Reassure the Person

  • Calm the person to help reduce anxiety.

2. Help the Person Relax Breathing

Have the person sit down and try these strategies:

  • Breathe through pursed lips as if blowing out a candle
  • Cover the mouth and one nostril and breathe only through the other nostril
  • Breathe slowly, taking 1 breath every 5 seconds
  • Take deep, slow breaths from the abdomen ("belly breathing")

3. When to Get Medical Help

Go to a hospital emergency room if:

  • The person's symptoms don't get better after several minutes.
  • Symptoms get worse or the person is in pain.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 17, 2013

First Aid A-Z

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