Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath (dyspnea) is the feeling of uneasy breathing. Shortness of breath needs care right away.


  • Do not smoke.

  • Avoid being around chemicals that may bother your breathing (such as paint fumes or dust).

  • Rest as needed. Slowly begin your usual activities.

  • Only take medicine as told by your doctor. Inhaled medicines or oxygen might be part of your treatment.

  • Follow up with your doctor as told. Waiting to do so or failure to follow up could result in worsening your condition and possible disability or death.

  • Understand what to do or who to call if your shortness of breath gets worse.


  • You get pain in your chest, shoulders, belly (abdomen), or jaw.

  • You cannot stop coughing or you start wheezing.

  • You cough up blood or thick mucus.

  • You can only speak with short words.

  • You have a fever.

  • You feel your heart racing or skipping beats.

  • You are not breathing better when you stop and rest.

  • Your condition does not improve in the time expected.

  • You have problems with medicines.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.