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Breathing Emergencies: Airway Injuries, Obstructions and Disorders

Difficulty breathing can lead to unconsciousness or death. Learn how to deal with sudden shortness of breath and airway obstructions. Here are tips to get the help you need.
  1. Allergies and Anaphylaxis
  2. Coughing (8)

How Breathing Works
Understanding breathing is the first step to understanding what causes shortness of breath.

Shortness of Breath Treatment
The treatment of shortness of breath is specific for each cause. In many cases, the only way to treat shortness of breath is to call 911 or take the victim to a doctor or emergency department for evaluation. Besides figuring out what is causing the shortness of breath, healthcare providers will also be able to provide supplemental oxygen to help...

First Aid for Shortness of Breath
About.com First Aid readers share their experiences with shortness of breath treatment, both the first time and chronic shortness of breath. See submissions

Chest Trauma
Chest trauma can be penetrating or blunt. If the injury pokes through the skin (stabbing, gunshot wound, arrow through the heart, etc) we call it penetrating chest trauma. If a sharp object tearing deep into skin and muscle isn't the main cause of tissue damage, consider it blunt chest trauma. Some blunt forces can still break the skin --...

Treat a Sucking Chest Wound
A hole in the chest (gunshot wound, stabbing or other puncture wound) makes a new pathway for air to travel into the chest when it expands. That hole pulling air into the chest cavity is called a sucking chest wound.

Readers Share Pneumonia Symptoms
Not all pneumonia feels the same to all victims. Pneumonia symptoms often come with shortness of breath, but since pneumonia comes from an infection, there are often other symptoms as well. These readers share their symptoms of pneumonia.

Treat Flail Chest
Flail chest refers to a serious breech in the integrity of the ribcage from more than one adjacent broken ribs broken in more than one place each. Instead of rigidly holding the normal shape of the chest, flail chest results in a segment of the chest wall flailing back and forth in the opposite direction of the rest of the chest wall.

Broken Ribs
Kids and the elderly can get broken ribs easier than younger adults. Most broken ribs come from vehicle accidents, but they're also common from falling off horses, sports injuries and falls. In some cases, lots of forceful coughing -- like from a bout of pneumonia -- can cause rib fractures.

What Causes Shortness of Breath?
Anything that interferes with breathing leads to too little oxygen and too much carbon dioxide in the blood. Shortness of breath also comes from a sudden demand for oxygen in the body through exercise or stress. Learn about the variety of reasons one might have difficulty breathing and experience shortness of breath.

How Can I Tell if Someone is Short of Breath?
Victims of shortness of breath look like they've just finished running uphill. Still, the way to really tell if someone is having trouble breathing is to ask him. Regardless of the cause of shortness of breath, the only way for the body to get more oxygen is to get more air.

How can I tell if I have a DVT?
A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a vein deep below the surface of the skin. If a DVT breaks loose and travels to the lungs it is called a pulmonary embolism (PE).

Can I treat hyperventilation syndrome by breathing into a paper bag?
Hyperventilating into a paper bag? The answer is definitely no -- unless your doctor tells you to.

A sudden pop in the chest can lead to severe shortness of breath - especially if it is a collapsed lung.

Hyperventilation Syndrome
Hyperventilation syndrome is very scary, but not life-threatening. It can be hard to tell hyperventilation syndrome apart from other causes of shortness of breath.

Treat Hyperventilation Syndrome
Hyperventilation syndrome is not life-threatening, but can lead to a significant decrease in carbon dioxide. Hyperventilation syndrome is scary and leads to increased anxiety, which makes the hyperventilation syndrome worse.

Common Causes of Shortness of Breath
Many conditions cause shortness of breath. These are the most common.

Recognizing and Responding to Anaphylaxis
One of the most dangerous medical conditions is a severe allergy called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can potentially affect as much as 15 percent of the population and is commonly fatal. Know how to recognize and treat anaphylaxis.

Namenda - Drug Profile
Information about the medication Namenda, used for treating dementia and memory loss in patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's Disease.

Norvasc Drug Profile
Information about the cardiac medication Norvasc used for treating angina and high blood pressure.

Fundamental First Aid: The ABC's
In any situation, it's important to stay calm and follow the basics.

CPR - Child (1 to 8 yrs old)
Steps to perform CPR on kids 1 to 8 years old.

Breathing Difficulties - First Aid
Learn what to do for shortness of breath, regardless of the cause.

Asthma Symptoms in Children
Find out how to recognize asthma in children. Learn about treatments and find more resources for asthma in kids.

Choking - Adult or Child Over 1 Year
Learn how to clear an airway.

Choking - infant under 1 year
Kids put everything in their mouths. Learn how to get objects out.

Shortness of Breath First Aid

Being short of breath (otherwise known as dyspnea or difficulty breathing) is one of the scariest conditions. Responding to most victims complaining of shortness of breath requires calling 911 and supporting them until the ambulance can arrive.

Pneumonia Symptoms - What Are Pneumonia Symptoms
Pneumonia Symptoms - What Are Pneumonia Symptoms

Pneumonia First Aid

Pneumonia is an infection deep in the lungs. Here is an overview of pneumonia to help you provide proper first aid for pneumonia.

Is choking the same as strangulation? - Definition of Is choking the same as...

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