Breathing Emergencies

The body requires a constant supply of oxygen to survive, which it gets through the act of breathing. Breathing is the effortless process of bringing oxygen into the body and expelling carbon dioxide.

Oxygen in the air is transferred to the blood through the lungs. The heart then pumps the newly oxygenated blood to every cell in the body, which needs the oxygen to survive. The cells of the human body can not live long without oxygen. If a person should stop breathing, the heart would eventually stop beating. When the heart stops beating, the oxygen will not be supplied to the cells, and within ten minutes, the cells of the brain will start to die. Once enough cells die, the human body can no longer survive.

There are many types of breathing emergencies. Recognizing the characteristic of breathing emergencies and giving immediate care can prevent a more serious situation.

Indications of Breathing Emergencies

  • Breathing is unusually fast or slow.
  • Breathing is unusually deep or shallow
  • Victim is gasping for air
  • Victim is wheezing, gurgling, or making high pitched noises
  • Victim feels short of breath
  • Victim has skin that is flushed, pale or bluish in appearance
  • Victim feels dizzy or light-headed
  • Victim feels pain in the chest or tingling in hands or legs.