Using a Paper Bag to Control Hyperventilation
Try these steps to control hyperventilation
- Take 6 to 12 easy, natural breaths, with a small
paper bag held over your mouth and nose. Then remove the bag from your nose and
mouth and take easy, natural breaths.
- Next, try belly-breathing
- Alternate these techniques until your
If hyperventilation continues for longer than 30 minutes,
call your doctor immediately.
Do not use a paper bag if:
- You have any heart or lung problems, such as coronary artery
disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, emphysema), or a
history of deep vein thrombosis, stroke, or pulmonary
- Rapid breathing occurs at a high altitude [above
6000 ft (1829 m)]. Breathing
faster than normal is a natural response to an increased altitude.
Follow these precautions when using
the bag method:
- Do not use a plastic bag.
- Do not
breathe continuously into a paper bag. Take 6 to 12 natural breaths, with a
paper bag held over your mouth and nose, then remove the bag from your nose and
- Do not hold the bag for the person who is hyperventilating.
Allow the person to hold the bag over his or her own mouth and nose.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David Messenger, MD|
|Last Revised||August 29, 2012|