Signs of Respiratory Distress

It is good to know, even if we are not medical professionals, what the signs of respiratory distress are so we could do the most appropriate intervention. For non-medical-related individuals, they can send or seek consult immediately if they see their friends or relatives in respiratory distress.

So, here are the signs of respiratory distress.

  • Increase breathing. When a person is trying to compensate the low oxygen in the body, one can notice an increase breathing rate of that person.
  • Nasal flaring. Once a person is trying to breathe faster than normal, one can notice flaring of the nose or the opening wider of the nose while breathing.
  • Wheezing. There will be a whistling sound heard while the patient breathes.
  • Grunting. As the person tries to breathe faster, one can hear sound every time the patient exhales.
  • Retractions. If you try to check the chest area of the patient while breathing, you may notice depression of the chest while breathing.
  • Cyanosis. Due to the decrease of oxygen level in the body, the patient looks pale, or even bluish in color or cyanotic.


  • Sweating. The patient’s head sweats but due to decrease in oxygen in the body, the skin is cold.
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