I want to know what happens if I get a panic attack on board an airplane?
Well, to answer your short and precise question, I would like to elaborate a little more for the benefit of others.
The American Medical Association states that, amongst the common medical problems that can occur on board an airplane is another condition, caused by the slight decreased level of carbon dioxide (CO2) intake. Although CO2 is not required for us to survive, the body monitors this gas so as to maintain a balanced body system. When there is a drop in CO2, the body natural response is to increase the breathing rate. Because there is nothing to compensate for, there is a tendency for some who are already stressed up due either to fear or excitement, to over breathing or hyperventilation. This phenomenon is sometimes described as panic attack.
The body reaction trigger by panic attacks can be quite similar to that of heart attacks. For some, the symptoms would be breathlessness, tingling or numbness in the limbs, looking pale or appearing ill. Often, these led to the mistaken belief that the passenger may be suffering from a heart attack. Application of oxygen by the crew may worsen the condition rather than improve it.
So, if you do suffer panic attack on board the airplane, the solution is rather simple. Remember, you usually exhale more carbon dioxide than there is available in the air. So, by simply rebreathing your own exhaled breath, you can overcome panic attack within a minute or so. How to do it? Make use of the airsick bag in the rear seat pocket in front of you. Place the airsick bag over the mouth and nose and breathe normally. You should recover from your panic attacks within a short period!
Have a panic-free and smooth flight in your next journey!
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If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here