Asphyxia and the respiratory problems that it causes

Causes of asphyxia or respiratory problems

Asphyxia occurs when a person accidentally lodges a foreign object, such as food, in the trachea resulting in obstruction of air passage. There are different causes of suffocation in adults and children. The most common culprit in adult people is food, while children often accidentally swallow very small objects. This can have fatal consequences such as lack of oxygen flow to the brain and cause the paralysis of their vital functions. In some cases, it can lead to cardiac arrest.

Respiratory problems can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex or physical condition. People with asthma often run the risk of developing respiratory problems when an allergen triggers an asthma attack as a result of a collapsed lung. Like suffocation, difficulty in breathing can be fatal, since it obstructs the vital functions of the body.

The symptoms

The key to offering rapid treatment to the victim is often found in the detection of these problems. Therefore, the symptoms of asphyxia and respiratory problems are summarized below.

  • Suffocation
  • The universal sign of suffocation is when someone grabs your throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Inability to speak
  • The victim begins to turn blue
  • Respiratory problems


The treatment of asphyxia in adults

Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can treat an adult who is choking:


  • Take the victim in a position that allows the head to be lower than the chest.
  • Use your hand to slap between the shoulder blades of the victim at least 5 times.
  • If the object causing the person to drown has not been dislodged, use the abdominal thrust technique, hug him, and as his hands are in the person's upper abdomen, pull up. Repeat the process at least five times.
  • If at any time during your first aid treatment to the victim, you become unconscious, call the doctor immediately.


The treatment of asphyxia in babies


  • When it comes to babies or small children who are drowning, you need to take more precise measurements. Here is a complete guide:
  • The same with performing choking treatment in adults, you should place the child's head lower than the chest.
  • While pressing the child's face down, support your head using your hand to hold the jaw.
  • Use your hand to give the baby five blows in the back between the shoulder blades.
  • If this does not eliminate the lodged object, push the chest. Simply place the child on his back in such a way that his head is close to his knees and between his thighs.
  • Next, place a pair of fingers on the child's sternum, you must use your fingers to push down on the child's chest five times.
  • If this does not work, call the emergency medical service.


Other respiratory problems

Apart from suffocation, there are some other respiratory problems that may arise, depending on the triggers. For example, vapor inhalation may vary from mild to severe, depending on the source of the smoke and the reaction of the individual. Meanwhile, asphyxia occurs when the entry of air into the lungs is blocked.

Here are some first aid tips when you or someone else suffers from the conditions mentioned above.


  • Call immediately to request medical assistance.
  • If the victim is safe enough to be transported from its original position to an area with fresh air. This will help the victim to wait for relief while emergency medical help arrives.
  • In case the victim is unconscious, check your vital signs and keep the airway clear of any obstruction.



  • When the victim is unconscious, clear the airways. Check your breathing and make sure there is a pulse.
  • Even if the suffocation victim is conscious and breathing, it is important to seek medical advice immediately.

What not to do: treatment of respiratory problems

Seeing someone who has respiratory problems can trigger panic among witnesses. If you are in a similar situation, it is important to know how to help the victim to avoid later complications.


  1. Do not squeeze the victim.
  2. Check vital signs and try to assess the magnitude of the problem.
  3. Do not administer medications, as it exposes the patient to risks of respiratory problems and allergies.
  4. When reporting patient care to medical personnel, provide all essential information about the patient, for example, symptoms and any information that may be useful for their treatment.

Video Medicine: Hypoxia and Asphyxia (January 2022).