We rely on oxygen to breathe but some people suffer with asthma or panic attacks, which may then turn into breathlessness and create further complications. The medical name for shortness of breath is dyspnoea. Being unable to breath effortlessly can be frightening to those experiencing this sensation. It is always helpful to know how to help the one struggling to breathe. Panic creates further anxiety and is not helpful to the one in need. Although it may feel like the end of the world for the sufferer, the body is still breathing, albeit short sharp breaths, but the mind is already in panic mode.
The Causes of Breathlessness
A variety of ailments may cause shortage of breath including illness, anaemia, chest infections, smoking, obesity, stress or anxiety, weakness, immune system problems, hyperventilation, chronic lung problems, and heart disease. Non-asthmatics may also suffer with shortness of breath on occasions. Dust, hay fever, eating too fast, rooms with too much or too little humidity, and shallow breathing may also cause shortness of breath in some people. Stale air can create breathing problems, but releasing the cause can provide relief.
Helping a Person Shortness of Breath
* Is the person on a medication and a side effect is shortage of breath?
* Offer reassurance and try to calm someone who is struggling to catch his or her breath.
* Standing may be stressful, but sitting or lying in a comfortable position may provide immediate relief.
* Practice slow exhalations and try to encourage the individual to relax. Slow breaths out can unblock the lungs and provide relief.
* Play music or switch on the TV to provide additional comfort and divert the panic.
* Open the window or use a fan to ventilate the room.
* Test the individual's temperature and looks for signs of infection including a chronic cough or coughing up green phlegm. An infection may require anti-biotics.
* If s/he is suffering an asthma attack, try to relax the individual and ask if s/he has an inhaler.
How To Treat Persistent Breathing Problems
The above helpful tips may not always help an individual in a gasping panic, but emergency services or a GP may prescribe oxygen. It is available in small cylinders and is not a hindrance when stepping out to buy shopping or visit a friend. If shortness of breath arises from cough, flu or cold, visit a doctor to avoid further complications leading to bronchitis, pneumonia, or respiratory illness, if left untreated.