Health & Medical Lung Health

How to Treat Hyperventilation

  • 1). Look for any of these signs and symptoms of hyperventilation: high anxiety, rapid and deep breathing, rapid pulse, a feeling of suffocation, dizziness or faintness, dry mouth, numbness in the hands and around the mouth, a feeling of paralysis in the hands, stabbing chest pain.

  • 2). Calm the person down by identifying the source of anxiety and addressing it. Hyperventilation is often triggered in wilderness settings by a fear of heights, by equipment failures, or by a minor injury that causes anxiety.

  • 3). Communicate continually with the injured person: explain that even though he or she feels a need for more oxygen, the problem is that he or she is getting too much of it, and that the symptoms will go away as breathing calms down.

  • 4). Have the person breath into a stuff sack or other bag, covering both the nose and mouth with the bag. This will increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood.

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