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Breathing difficulties - first aid

  • Alternative Names

    Difficulty breathing - first aid; Dyspnea - first aid; Shortness of breath - first aid


    The following symptoms are often associated with difficulty breathing:

    • Bluish lips, fingers, and fingernails
    • Chest moving in an unusual way as the person breathes (may indicate an airway or chest injury)
    • Chest pain (could be a heart attack or injury; sharp chest pain could be pulmonary embolism or collapsed lung)
    • Confusion, light-headedness, weakness, or sleepiness
    • Cough (if the person also has phlegm/sputum, this may be pneumonia; a barking cough in a child is croup)
    • Fever
    • Gurgling, wheezing, or whistling sounds
    • Using chest and neck muscles to breathe