How to Treat Hyperventilation – First Aid Training – St John Ambulance


Hyperventilating is excessive breathing. It’s normally caused by extreme anxiety and can happen at the same time as a
panic attack. When someone is hyperventilating, they breathe unnaturally fast and deep which can make them lose more carbon dioxide from their blood than usual. This can make them feel dizzy
and weak. When they start to breathe normally again, they should feel better. There are six signs to look for if you think someone is hyperventilating: unnatural, fast, deep breathing, anxiety or attention seeking behaviour, feeling dizzy or faint, trembling or tingling in hands or feet, and muscle cramps in the hands or feet. If someone is hyperventilating, talk to them and reassure them. Try to take them somewhere quiet. This will help them to control their
breathing. If that’s not possible, ask any surrounding people to leave or
turn away. Once they have controlled their breathing, advise them to see a doctor as to how they
can prevent and control hyperventilation in the future. If you are
concerned about their symptoms, or if their breathing does not get any better, call for an ambulance. So remember: if someone is
hyperventilating, take them somewhere quiet, ask other people to turn away or leave, and encourage them to see a doctor.