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First Aid: Breathing Problems – Shortness of Breath

Breathing Problems

Any person suffering from severe difficulty breathing should be treated as suffering from a life threatening condition. The body requires oxygen to work properly. Signs of severe breathing difficulty include: an inability to speak in complete sentences; has noisy breathing; irregular breathing rate, rhythm, or quality; or is turning blue. People with breathing problems will often sit in a tripod position. This allows them to breath easier and should be encouraged. Many people with chronic breathing problems will know about their condition and may be able to assist you in assisting them. You should call 911 anytime you suspect someone is having severe difficulty breathing or you are unsure what to do. Keep the person in a position of comfort and try to calm the person until help arrives.

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