Respiration is the process that occurs when oxygen is inhaled into the lungs, converted into energy via a chemical reaction and expelled as carbon dioxide. Normal respiration is an automatic process and does not require conscious effort. However, in the case of illness or trauma, a victim's respiration rate may become unusually high or low indicating the need for immediate medical attention. The respiratory rate is simply the number of breaths an individual takes per minute. Read the article below to learn how to measure and record respiratory rate.
1. Contact an emergency response team immediately in the event of a severe trauma or medical crisis.
2. Measure an individual's respiratory rate while he/she is at rest. Try not to let the victim become aware that you are monitoring respirations in order to obtain a more reliable count.
3. Observe the rise and fall of the victim's chest and count the number of respirations out loud for one full minute. One respiration consists of one complete rise and fall of the chest, or the inhalation and exhalation of air. The normal respiratory rate for a healthy adult at rest is 12-to-20 breaths per minute.
4. Categorize the rhythm, ease,and strength of the respiration. Normal respiration consists of deep, even breaths during which the rib cage fully contracts and relaxes. Abnormal respiration may appear shallow and rapid, labored, shallow and deep or noisy and may indicate illness or injury.
5. Record the current time, respiratory rate and respiratory characteristics, if possible.
6. Repeat the above steps for measuring and recording respiration rate and characteristics every 10 minutes in an emergency situation. Make a note of any significant changes and relay the information to medical personnel.