Hyperventilation • Natural Remedies and First Aid

Hyperventilation is rapid breathing that causes you to breathe out more carbon dioxide than is normal. Rapid breathing leads to narrowing of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. This could be a panic attack.

Hyperventilation - Cartoon image of a woman fainting

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tingling in fingers

RISK FACTORS

  • Altitude
  • Anger
  • Drug use
  • Emotional stress
  • Fear
  • Head injuries

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

You should seek medical treatment if pain, bleeding, fever, or pressure in your chest accompanies hyperventilation.  For mild cases, try some home remedies.

SELF TREATMENT

FIRST AID

  • Calm down and relax.
  • Breathe slowly into a paper bag (unless you have an underlying health condition like asthma or emphysema.
  • Consciously attempt to breathe normally, about ten breaths a minute.
  • Try belly breathing. Keep your chest from moving while filling your lungs and allowing your belly to rise. Breathe out slowly through your nose.

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Smoking
  • Sugary foods and drinks

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Chamomile
  • Green tea
  • Kava root tea
  • Hop flower tea
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Linden
  • Passionflower
  • Peppermint

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Ashwagandha
  • Damiana
  • Hops
  • Kava pills
  • Kava root
  • Skullcap
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Valerian

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress.

  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Clary sage
  • Frankincense
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Mandarin
  • Marjoram
  • Neroli
  • Oregano
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Sweet orange
  • Tarragon
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

  • Bach Rescue Remedy

HYDRATION

If you are dehydrated from sodas, caffeine, smoking or alcohol, it will help to replenish with pure water.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health and certainly can cause hyperventilation. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

EXERCISE

Mouth breathing during exercise can cause hyperventilation. Learn to breathe properly.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

If hyperventilation is accompanied by fever, bleeding, pain, or pressure in your chest, seek medical help immediately.

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