First Aid Training - Hyperventilation

Introduction

Hyperventilation is excessive breathing, it is normally caused by acute anxiety and it may accompany a panic attack, it can also occur in individuals who have recently experienced an emotional or psychological shock.

Recognition

  • Unnaturally fast deep breathing.
  • Attention seeking behaviour.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling faint.
  • Trembling or marked tingling in the hands and cramps in the hands and feet.

Treatment

Your aim with somebody who is hyperventilating is to remove the casualty from the cause of distress, to reassure them and calm them down.

  • Speak to them firmly, but be kind and reassuring.
  • Remove them to a place that is quiet.
  • If this is not possible ask bystanders to leave or turn away.

Encourage the casualty to see their own doctor about preventing and controlling panic attacks in the future.

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