To breathe so rapidly and deeply as to cause dizziness.
Greek hyper- (over) and English ventilate.
A state of sheer terror for any asthmatic.

Basically when you inhale and exhale much faster then any normal human should, normally so fast your body can barely get any oxygen out of the air. Tends to be uncontrollable, in the sense that it is involuntary once it gets going. Hyperventilating leads to light headedness, and asthma attacks. This can be brought about by anything from getting the wind knocked out of you, crying, and generally anything that can make you breathe hard, and uncontrolled, or gasp for air.

Nothing, nothing, evokes more fear then not being able to breathe because of something uncontrollable or involuntary. A simple attack, or just running outta breath, isnt half bad. That is easily controlled. Not being able to think straight scares the hell outta me when i'm having an attack.

How to stop it? Don't touch me. Deep breathing helps, if you can get the person to concentrate. sit down, make sure the person isnt going to ram into a wall. padded rooms help. Do what ever you need to to calm the person down

to hyperventilate is also something that you can do voluntarily before diving when breath hold diving.

The purpose is to extend the period of time you can spend underwater by flushing CO2 out of your system. Excessive hyperventilation, though, can lead to a sudden (and deadly) form of fainting fit. Fainting underwater could well extend your dive time into the years...

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