Hyperventilation is excessive breathing, normally caused by
extreme anxiety, and can happen at the same time as a panic
When someone is hyperventilating they breathe unnaturally fast
or deep. This makes the blood lose more carbon dioxide than usual,
which can make them feel weak and dizzy. As they begin to breathe
normally again, they should feel better.
It is very rare for children to suffer from hyperventilation, so
if you think a child is hyperventilating you should try looking for
other reasons why they could be showing these symptoms.
Watch our video - hyperventilation
What to look for - hyperventilation
These are the six key things to look for:
- 1. Unnaturally fast deep breathing
- 2. Attention-seeking behaviour or anxiety
- 3. Dizziness
- 4. Feeling faint
- 5. Trembling or tingling in the hands
- 6. Muscle cramps in the hands and feet
What you need to do - hyperventilation
Speak to them firmly, but be kind and
Take them somewhere that’s quiet, as this can
help them control their breathing again. If you can’t do this, ask
any bystanders to leave or turn away.
Encourage the casualty to see their doctor
about how they can learn to prevent and control hyperventilation in
If you are unsure of their symptoms or if they
are not improving, call 999 or 112 for medical help.