Most people take the respiratory system for granted. People with certain illnesses may experience breathing problems that they experience regularly. The embarrassing breathing process almost always requires emergency medical attention. The exception is a feeling of weakness from normal activities, such as exercise. It also happens that a person may not know about his hidden diseases. A sudden attack and stop breathing can complicate the situation. The victim will be very scared and will not be able to quickly navigate to help themselves. In any case, you need to know what the first actions are, because, even if it happens to a person often, it is not known whether everything will pass by itself this time.
What is respiratory arrest?
People breathe, breathing fresh air into their lungs, replenish some of the oxygen in them, displacing waste carbon dioxide and exhaling exhaust air. Blood vessels located in the lungs distribute oxygen to all cells of the body. Usually people have a lung capacity of 4 to 6 liters. When someone stops breathing, this is a life-threatening condition known as respiratory arrest. It is permissible only for a few minutes; if it lasts longer, vital organs begin to fail.
Sometimes, when a person stops breathing, the respiratory process can resume if it is stimulated by a lifeguard who blows air into the lungs. However, the condition of the victim may worsen. It is likely that with difficulty in breathing a heart spasm may occur with further stopping of its work. Without the lungs receiving oxygen, the victim is waiting for brain damage in just a few minutes. Because of this, it is extremely important that rescuers quickly and correctly rescue the victim and ventilate the lungs.
First aid for respiratory arrest
First of all, you need to know the exact symptoms that indicate the stopping of the respiratory process. A person who has difficulty breathing is often in poor condition. Naturally, if he lost consciousness and fell, then something is clearly wrong with him, but still, there are several symptoms that are warning signs. A timely response to them will help not to suffocate to the extreme. The main symptoms before respiratory arrest may be:
- fast breathing;
- it is impossible to breathe when lying down or to just sit down to breathe;
- very anxious and agitated feeling inside;
- tired exhausted look;
- bluish lips, fingers and nails;
- the chest moves in an unusual way;
- muffled voice or difficulty in talking;
- coughing up blood;
- fast or irregular heartbeat;
- excessive sweating;
- there may be a rash or swelling of the face, tongue or throat.
If a person cannot breathe, call an ambulance right away. Then you need to perform rescue operations. Check the airway and pulse. Before you take action - loosen any tight clothing. Help the person use the prescribed medication (asthma inhaler or home oxygen). Continue to monitor the breathing and pulse of the person until the arrival of medical care. If the patient loses consciousness and stops breathing completely - begin to do artificial respiration. Proper artificial respiration is carried out in several steps. First, make sure the airway is clear. Next, pinch the victim's nose with two fingers. Take in the air and press your lips tightly to the lifeless person. Let the air out. The chest should rise at this moment and then descend again. It is necessary to carry out the procedure up to 30 times. After that, the affected person must regain consciousness.
Do not think that a person's condition has improved completely, just because you no longer hear abnormal sounds, such as wheezing. If you find open wounds on the neck or on the sternum of the affected person, they should be immediately closed, especially if air bubbles appear in the wound. Rewind them immediately. A deep chest wound allows air to penetrate into the chest cavity of a person with each breath, which can lead to the destruction of the lung. Tie a wound with a plastic bag or gauze covered with petroleum jelly, covering it with the exception of one corner. This will allow trapped air to exit the sternum, but the bandage will prevent air from entering the sternum through the wound.
Inexperienced rescuers can harm the victim with their attempts to help, so you need to know what is absolutely impossible to do. It is forbidden to give a person food or drink. You should not move a person if there is an injury to the sternum or respiratory tract, as this will only aggravate the blood flow and reveal the wound. Many inexperienced rescuers are trying to lay the head of the victim on something soft. To do this is strictly prohibited. Do not use a pillow under your head - this can block the airway. Wait until the person's condition improves until they receive medical care.
Causes of respiratory failure
There are many different causes of breathing problems. Common causes include some health conditions and sudden medical emergencies.
Breathing problems can cause:
- anemia (low red blood cell count);
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sometimes called emphysema or chronic bronchitis;
- heart disease or heart failure;
- lung cancer or cancer that has spread to the lungs;
- respiratory infections, including pneumonia, acute bronchitis, whooping cough, and others;
- pericardial effusion (fluid that surrounds the heart and does not allow it to function properly);
- pleural effusion (fluid surrounding the lungs and compressing them);
- blood clot in the lungs;
- coagulated lung (pneumothorax);
- heart attack;
- neck, chest wall or lung injury;
- severe allergic reaction;
- drowning that causes fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Breathing can be prevented, for this you need to know all the details of your health. If you feel any changes in your body - you need to undergo a medical examination. Remember that even simple shortness of breath is an indication of the disease. Consult your health care provider if you have a cold or other respiratory infections or have difficulty breathing. You may have a cough that does not disappear after 2 or 3 weeks or a cough with blood. In addition, it makes sense to be examined if you notice weight loss without a cause or night sweats, difficulty sleeping at night. If you notice that you have lost your breath when you climb the stairs (and this was not the case before), also tell your doctor.
The following are options you can do to help prevent breathing problems. If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, carry an epinephrine pen (syringe with adrenaline) and a medical tag. Your health care provider will teach you how to use epinephrine pen. If you have asthma or allergies, eliminate home allergens such as dust mites and mold. To avoid respiratory arrest, do not smoke and stay away from second-hand smoke. If you have asthma, re-read the literature on the disease to know how to manage it. Make sure your child receives pertussis vaccine — this will help prevent illness accompanied by respiratory failure. Make sure you and your child have been vaccinated against tetanus.
When you travel by plane, get up and walk every few hours to avoid blood clots in your legs. When sitting down, make circles around your ankle, raise and lower your limbs, toes, and knees to increase blood flow in your legs. Clots can break off and move to the lungs. If you are driving, stop and walk regularly. If you are overweight, then you should think about how to lose weight, since you most likely will feel exhausted with an excess of mass in the body. You are also at greater risk of heart disease or a heart attack. You must carry a medical tag with you if you have a medical condition like asthma. This will help strangers to quickly navigate and provide you with proper medical care in case of an unexpected stop in breathing.