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How to treat wheezing

June 5th, 2018 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on How to treat wheezing)

Wheezing is a high-pitched sound like a whistle while breathing in and out which happens when a person is not capable breathing properly. It can be due to some constriction in the passage of the lung where air flows in and out. The whistling sound is caused by air passing through a narrow airway.

Causes of narrowed airway

  • Swelling of the lining of the airways
  • The muscles within the lining of the airways contracts which affects the narrowing or constricting the airways or bronchospasm.
  • Mucus secretions in the airways
  • Inhaled objects such as peanuts usually happens in children

Causes of wheezing


Labored breathing with whistling sound while exhaling.

  • Bronchiolitis
  • Asthma
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Smoking
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Cold and cough
  • Exposure to dust
  • Acidity and acid reflux
  • Swallowing an object
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Heart failure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Lung cancer


  • Labored breathing with whistling sound while exhaling
  • Tightening sensations in the chest


  • Prescribed anti-inflammatory medications to lessen the inflammation and the excess mucus in the airways in the form of an inhaler and tablets. Provide a syrup medication for children.
  • Prescribed bronchodilators to lessen coughing. It relaxes the muscles that are near the breathing tubes.
  • Drink warm liquids such as herbal tea or just warm water to lessen build up of mucus. Avoid dehydration for fast healing of the condition. Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Steam therapy to lessen wheezing. Take a steamy shower and breathe in the steam to relax the airways and the moisture thins out the mucus that cause clogging of the airways.
  • Gargle using salt water. Fill a glass with warm water; mix it with 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix them well until salt is totally dissolved and then gargle the solution at least every hour to get rid of mucus clinging in the airway passages. Salt is rich with anti-bacteria properties that stops wheezing.
  • Drink ginger tea lessens coughing, wheezing and asthma. It clears blockage in the breathing tubes and lessen the inflammation in the respiratory tract.
  • Prescribed nasal drops to lessen wheezing at least 2-3 drops for easy breathing.
  • Pursed lip breathing is a slow way of breathing and keeps the airway to open longer and lessen the wheezing. It consists of breathing through tightly pressed or pursed lips and inhaling though closed nose and mouth.
  • Stop smoking to prevent further irritations.



April 17th, 2018 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on Anaphylaxis)

Anaphylaxis is a type of severe allergic reaction that is a potentially life-threatening condition. It can occur when you’ve been exposed to something that triggers your allergy such as animal fur, feathers, bee stings, peanuts, and etcetera. This causes your immune system to release a flood of chemicals in your body which can cause shock. Certain foods, medications, venom from insects and latex are common triggers of anaphylaxis.

An injection of epinephrine and a trip to the emergency room is crucial to preventing anaphylaxis from becoming fatal. If epinephrine is unavailable, then a trip to the emergency room is immediately required.

The symptoms of anaphylaxis can occur within a few minutes of exposure to the allergen, however, sometimes the symptoms can occur thirty (30) minutes or longer after exposure to the allergen.

The immune system produces antibodies which are used in fighting off harmful and foreign substances that enter our bodies such as bacteria or viruses. An allergic reaction is where the immune system starts fighting substances that aren’t harmful.

Common causes of anaphylaxis are a food allergy, certain medications, stings from insects such as bees or wasps, pollen, and etcetera.


If epinephrine is unavailable, then a trip to the emergency room is immediately required.

If you’re not sure or you don’t know what triggers your anaphylaxis attack, there are certain tests that can help identify the allergen.

Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis

  • Skin reactions such as hives, itching, pale or flushed skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constriction of the airways
  • Swelling of the tongue or throat
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Dizziness or fainting

Seek medical attention if you, or someone you know, is experiencing a severe allergic reaction. Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away as it might worsen. If the person who is having an attack is carrying epinephrine autoinjector, it is important that you administer it immediately. A trip to the emergency room is still necessary even if the symptoms appear to improve to ensure that the symptoms don’t recur.

There aren’t many risk factors for anaphylaxis but there are a few factors that can increase your risk of anaphylaxis, these include:

  • Previous anaphylaxis, as this can increase your risk of having a severe allergic reaction. The future reactions may also be more severe than the first.
  • Allergies or asthma, as it can increase your risk of anaphylaxis.
  • Certain conditions, such as heart disease.

Anaphylaxis can cause life-threatening complications as it can stop your breathing or your heartbeat.

There are numerous ways to prevent anaphylaxis, the best way is to avoid exposure to the substances that trigger allergic reactions, but also include:

  • Have an emergency first aid kit that includes all the prescribed medication that you need.
  • Alert all your doctors to the reactions that you get from medication.
  • Use caution around insects if you have an allergic reaction to them. Wear long-sleeved clothing and pants, avoid walking barefoot on grass, avoid bright colored clothing to prevent the attention of bees, avoid using cologne or perfumes and don’t leave sweet beverages exposed in the open as it may attract bees.
  • Carefully read all the labels of the foodstuffs that you consume if you have a food allergy to avoid any reactions.


Dealing with pediatric asthma

August 2nd, 2017 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on Dealing with pediatric asthma)

Asthma is a chronic disorder of the airway characterized by obstruction of the air passages due to inflammation of the bronchial tree. Children ages 5 are susceptible to this condition. The condition can be mild, moderate to severe.

Pediatric asthma can be allergic and non-allergic. Allergic is caused by inhaling substances from the environment that result to inflammation and the air passages becomes tight. Non-allergic can be due to viral infections, exercise, smoke and heredity.

Risk factors for developing pediatric asthma

  • Nasal rhinitis
  • Respiratory infections
  • Inhaling secondhand cigarette smoke
  • Allergy to animal dander increases the risk of developing asthma
  • Exposure to dust, fumes and air pollution
  • Premature birth has a high risk of developing asthma
  • Having a family history of asthma, eczema and allergy
  • Urban areas with a high rate of pollution

    A wheezing sound can be heard especially when breathing.


  • A wheezing sound can be heard especially when breathing
  • Cough
  • Congestion and chest tightness
  • Pain in the chest in young children
  • Loss of sleep and appetite. Difficulty in sleeping because attacks of asthma usually happen at night.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irritability
  • Severe prostration
  • Colds and flu makes the symptoms severe
  • Use of accessory muscles while breathing
  • A severe asthma makes the color of the skin bluish
  • Widened nostrils while breathing


  • Use the prescribed inhaled corticosteroids for long-term medication for asthma.
  • Use medication that gives instant relief or rescue medication such as short acting bronchodilators and systemic corticosteroids. Use the inhaled ipratropium together with inhaled bronchodilators when the condition becomes severe.
  • Medications are given using a device that makes the affected child breathe in medication into the lungs such as a metered dose inhaler. It is a small hand device, with metered dose to make sure the child gets the correct dose. A hallow tube or spacer is attached to the inhaler. Dry powder inhalers which need a deep and fast inhalation of the full dose of the medication and nebulizer which changes medications into a fine mist and breathe in through a face mask. It delivers large doses of medication into the lungs and this is the device usually used by children.
  • Massage specific areas in the body of the affected child during episode of asthma attack to lessen the cough, encourage relaxation and lessen the wheezing.


  • Install a dehumidifier to lessen the humidity at home.
  • Keep indoor air clean by regularly cleaning the air conditioner at home. Change filters in the furnace and install a small-particle filter in the ventilation system.
  • If the child is allergic to dander, avoid pets that have feathers or furs. Bath the pets regularly to lessen the amount of dander in the surroundings.
  • Use air conditioner at home to lessen pollen from grasses, trees and weeds that enters the house. Air conditioner will lower the humidity indoor and lessen the exposure to dust mites.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on pediatric asthma is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this respiratory issue by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

How to treat pneumonia

July 4th, 2017 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on How to treat pneumonia)

Pneumonia is a condition of the lungs in which the air sacs in the lungs becomes inflamed and there is accumulation of fluid and pus that results to chronic cough and shortness of breath. This condition can be mild or dangerous especially for the elderly and the children. Pneumonia can be caused by virus, bacteria or fungi.

What are the types?

Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type usually caused by bacteria, virus and fungi.

  • Pneumonia caused by bacteria happens after having common cold or flu and it affects a single lobe of the lung. It is called sleeping pneumonia and does not need any treatment.

    Take the prescribed over-the-counter antibiotics to treat symptoms of bacterial pneumonia.

  • Pneumonia caused by fungi usually happens due to droppings of birds present in contaminated soil. People with underlying conditions and compromised immune system are susceptible to this condition.

Hospital-acquired pneumonia affects people after being confined in the hospital for periods. This condition is difficult to treat because the bacterium that causes the infection is resistant to antibiotics. It is common in people who are under mechanical ventilation.

Another category which is called aspiration pneumonia is caused by inhaling food, drink or saliva into the lungs. It usually happens after excessive drinking of alcohol or drugs or having problems with swallowing.

Symptoms of pneumonia

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle pains
  • Chest pain when coughing
  • Low body temperature
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cough with sticky sputum
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches


  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter antibiotics to treat symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. It takes about a couple of days to lessen the symptoms.
  • Take the prescribed antiviral medications to lessen the symptoms of viral forms of pneumonia. It takes about several weeks to lessen the symptoms.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to lessen the pain and the inflammation.
  • Take the prescribed cough medications to lessen the severity of the cough.
  • Take plenty of rest. Stay away from school/work for at least a few days until the symptoms are minimized
  • Drink plenty of liquids at least 6-8 glasses of water regularly to keep the body hydrated.
  • Take a hot and steamy shower for easy coughing up of the mucus and clearing the lungs. Another alternative is using a humidifier inside the room.


  • Get the pneumonia and seasonal flu vaccination
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Eating a well-balanced diet

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on pneumonia is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications of this respiratory condition by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

Asthma control during pregnancy

October 14th, 2016 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on Asthma control during pregnancy)

Asthma is a lung disease that causes the airways to tighten, thus making it difficult to breathe. Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs and if pregnant, the health of the baby and the mother can be at risk.

If asthma is not properly treated, the health of a pregnant women can be at a high risk for a serious health problem called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can develop after the 20th week of pregnancy or right after pregnancy. The pregnant women will have high blood pressure and symptoms such as malfunctioning of the kidney and liver as well as symptoms of protein in the urine, severe headaches and changes in vision.

The baby will not get enough oxygen and he/she may be at a high risk for health problems such as poor growth, premature birth and low birth weight. Babies that are born before the due date and are very small can develop health problems such as difficulties in breathing, intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of asthma during pregnancy


Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs and if pregnant, the health of the baby and the mother can be at risk.

  • Tightness of the chest
  • Shortness of breath and constant coughing especially at night or early in the morning.
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe morning sickness
  • Restricted fetal growth
  • Complicated labor
  • Low birth weight
  • Diminished fetal kick count
  • When the condition becomes severe, the life of the baby is at a high risk
  • Wheezing can be heard when breathing


  • Allergens such as pollen, animal dander, mold, flake of dead skin, cockroaches and dust mites.
  • Irritants such as pollution and cigarette smoke
  • Infections such as cold, flu or viral pneumonia
  • Exercises


  • Check if the affected woman has a treatment plan for asthma attack during pregnancy given by a health care provider. Follow the plan and consult a doctor if additional medication is needed.
  • If there is no asthma treatment plan, start giving asthma first aid.
  • Position the woman in an upright position comfortably and loosen clothing.
  • If she has an asthma medication such as an inhaler, help her to use it. If she has no inhaler, use one from a first aid kit.
  • Use an inhaler with a spacer. Remove the cap and then shake the inhaler well and then insert it into the spacer. Put the woman’s mouth tightly around the spacer mouthpiece, and let her breathe out completely and then hold the breath for at least 10 seconds. Give a total of at least four puffs and rest for about a few minutes between each puff.
  • If the woman has still difficulty in breathing, give another 4 blows and if there is still no improvement, continue giving 4 blows every 4 minutes until medical help arrives.


The material posted on this page for asthma is for learning purposes only. If you have severe episode of asthma during pregnancy, consult your local physical. If you want to learn to properly control asthma and be ready during an asthma attack, register for a first aid course with a training provider near you.

Spasmodic croup in children

January 22nd, 2016 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on Spasmodic croup in children)

Croup is a condition that causes an inflammation of the upper airways particularly the larynx and the windpipe. It usually results to a barking cough or hoarseness especially when crying.

Croup can be caused by viruses in which the viral cases are the most common and the symptoms can be severe. Children 6 months up to 3 years old are susceptible to this condition. Viral croup can be treated at home.

Spasmodic croup is a type of croup that happens to a child suffering from a mild cold. Barking cough usually starts at night and the child has no fever. It is called spasmodic because there is a sudden inflammation of the larynx and boys are more susceptible to this condition than girls.


Spasmodic croup

Croup can be caused by viruses in which the viral cases are the most common and the symptoms can be severe.

  • There is a mild runny nose and hoarseness for a few hours.
  • When the voice box and upper airway organs become inflamed, there is slight fever and a croupy cough.
  • Severe inflammation causes barking, noisy inspiration and a metallic cough.
  • The coughing is similar to a seal barks
  • When inhaling, a high pitched voice can be heard which is known as stridor
  • The face becomes red and congested with an anxious expression
  • Sometimes, the lips turns blue due to the lack of oxygen
  • The voice becomes hoarse with fast pulse and skin that is moist
  • In the morning, spasms disappear with mild hoarseness and loose coughing, but sometimes it can continue the next night.


  • First thing to do is comfort the affected child since difficulty in breathing can become worse.
  • Install a cool or warm mist vaporizer placed in the room of the child. Humidified air helps lessen swelling of the vocal cords and also helps minimize the symptoms. Make sure hot water vaporizers should be out of reach of children in order to help prevent accidental burns. Another way is to let the child breathe steam from the bathroom with a shower with hot water running down or a bathtub filled with hot water.
  • Take the child for a 10 to 15 minutes sitting or driving in the cool night air, if coughing becomes severe at night, and also helps in relieving respiratory symptoms of the child.
  • Make a saltwater nasal drop by mixing ¼ teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water. Carefully instill the saltwater solution into the nasal passage every few hours and then suction it using a bulb syringe in order to help in opening the nasal passages.
  • Give the child popsicles in order to help prevent dehydration and avoid activities during the first days of the illness.
  • A lingering cough that last for more than two weeks should be assessed by a doctor.


Phlegm in the throat

July 24th, 2015 | Posted by A. Jones in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on Phlegm in the throat)

Phlegm is a thick substance that is secreted by the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. There is abnormal production of phlegm when the individual is currently suffering from common cold or other respiratory conditions.

Phlegm will develop in the throat after the accumulation of cough which can be due to infections or allergy in the body. Phlegm is a mucous that is usually yellow or greenish in color and it indicates the type of infection the affected person is suffering.

Causes of phlegm in the throat

  • Allergic reaction to certain stimulants or irritants such as dust, animal dander and pollen
  • Conditions of the throat such as strep throat and tonsillitis
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • A disorder of the throat such as a deviated septum
  • Pregnancy
  • Eating or drinking cold food and beverages while suffering from cough and cold
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Smoking
Phlegm in the throat

Allergic reaction to certain stimulants or irritants such as dust, animal dander and pollen

Treatment and home remedies of phlegm in the throat

  • Drink hot water mix with lemon and add a spoonful of honey in order to provide relief to the cough. Hot water helps in relaxing the throat while fluids in the water help in eliminating infections in the body.
  • Heat water and add a few drops eucalyptus oil to the hot water. This produces a medicated steam that the individual should inhale in order to eliminate phlegm from the throat.
  • Soak some orange slices in wine and leave it overnight. After they have been soaked, cook the oranges until very soft and then eat them. Oranges are rich source of vitamin C and the mixture helps in relaxing the throat and eliminate the phlegm.
  • Combine together licorice root, black pepper, sugar crystals and dry ginger. The individual should be given a teaspoon of this mixture at least three times every day. It helps in preventing production of phlegm and minimizes the discharge.
  • Another treatment is a combination of ginger, carnation, cinnamon and honey. All you have to do is put them in the grinder and place a few drops of water. Mix them well to make a paste, then add 1 tablespoon of honey. The individual should consume this paste two times every day in order to help clear the throat from phlegm.

Other remedies

  • Boil a handful of mint leaves and eucalyptus leaves in a large pot with water. Once it reaches the boiling point, remove it from the heat. Drape a towel around the head of the individual and instruct to inhale the vapors. Take note that this helps in opening the sinuses and dries up the mucus.
  • Juice an onion and lemon together, combine them together with a cup of boiling water, then add raw honey and let it cool down. Drink the whole cup in one sitting. Prepare this drink at least three times every day for t2-3 days in order to help eliminate the phlegm.

Vital Information on Obtrusive Sleep Apnea

June 6th, 2014 | Posted by vanfirstaid in Breathing Emergency - (Comments Off on Vital Information on Obtrusive Sleep Apnea)

There are numerous types of sleep apnea; a condition that is characterized by stopped breathing while sleeping. The most common type under this classification is obtrusive sleep apnea. The throat muscles block the airway which as a result interferes with normal breathing.

There are certain groups of people at higher risk of suffering from the condition. Treatment involves surgical procedures or the use of a mouthpiece to keep the airway open while the patient is asleep.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms that you ought to be looking out for include:

  • Snoring
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Breath shortness
  • Depression

When these symptoms become severe, seek medical assistance immediately. In addition, you should also observe the patient for any other signs of sleep deprivation. A popular misconception associates snoring to obtrusive sleep apnea but this is not always the case. This is why professional advice is mandatory.

What Are the Causes?

Normal breathing largely depends on open airways. People suffering from this condition can not enjoy sleep because the throat muscles cause blockage. This in effect depletes the oxygen content in the blood.

The brain will lack adequate oxygen which will arouse the patient from sleep. However, many of those suffering from this condition do not realize the awakening since they fall back to sleep within a few seconds. Gasping is common when the person is trying to restore normal breathing during the awakening. The pattern reoccurs every hour in most cases.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Any person is at risk of suffering from this condition. Nevertheless, obtrusive sleep apnea is more likely to affect the following groups:

Overweight People– Statistics reveals that more than 50% of people suffering from this type of sleep apnea are overweight. This is owing to the fact that excess fat obstructs proper flow of air. It has also been noted that people with larger waists are more susceptible to it.

People With Large Necks– Doctors verify that the neck size of a person can increase the risk by a substantial percentage. Thick necks are common amongst overweight people and are linked to restricted airflow.

Hypertension Patients– Obtrusive sleep apnea is quite frequent in people suffering from hypertension, which is also referred to as high blood pressure.

Narrowed Airway– It’s possible for a thin person to have a narrow airway. The characteristic may be hereditary or medical. People with swollen tonsils can easily be affected by this type of sleep apnea.

Nasal Congestion– If this condition is chronic; the likely occurrence of sleep apnea becomes relatively high. Nasal congestion worsens at night and as a result causes constricted air flow.

Diabetics– People suffering from diabetes are at higher risk of contracting this ailment.

Alcohol Drinkers– Those who partake in alcoholic drinks aggravate this condition. It’s advisable to reduce the level of intoxication first before you sleep when you’re drunk.

Black Males– According to research, males are affected by obtrusive sleep apnea more than females. Furthermore, being a black male puts you at even higher risk.

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