Moderate to Severe Difficulty Breathing in Adults and Older Children

Difficulty breathing can occur when the body's lungs or heart are not working well.

Moderate trouble breathing means:

  • It's hard to talk in full sentences.
  • It's hard to breathe with activity.

Severe trouble breathing means:

  • You cannot talk at all.
  • You have to work very hard to breathe.
  • You feel like you can't get enough air.
  • You do not feel alert or cannot think clearly.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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