Difficulty Breathing in Adults and Older Children

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.

Moderate trouble breathing means:

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

Mild trouble breathing means:

  • You feel a little out of breath but can still talk.
  • It's becoming hard to breathe with activity.

Current as of: May 22, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD