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My husband is 70 yrs old. We are on holiday

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Posted on Thu, 7 Feb 2019
Question: My husband is 70 yrs old. We are on holiday in Mexico. He has started getting short of breath while we were walking and now even talking is hard sometimes. We are flying home today. Should I be concerned, or do anything to help him? He thinks its his sinus's.
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Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
he'd better visit a local doctor or the local ER

Detailed Answer:
Hello,

welcome to the 'Ask a Doctor' service.

Shortness of breath is a serious symptom in most cases. Inability to talk without having to stop to catch his breath is not normal. If the symptom begun suddenly then it's a little more alarming.

If by 'shortness of breath' he only means a stuffy nose then this is not as serious as the aforementioned cases.

Signs of a more serious disorders may include any (or all) of the following:
- increased respiratory rate (number of breaths per minute): we normally take 14-20 breaths per minute. Anything higher than that and particularly anything higher than 25 breaths per minute requires urgent investigation.
- faintness
- increased heart rate: serious shortness of breath usually causes a rapid heart rate. More than 100 beats per minute is never normal.
- Wheezing

There are more signs of serious respiratory tract disease but it's not easy for the untrained eye to spot them like the use of accessory respiratory muscles (for example).

If there are no signs of serious disease and he only has a stuffy nose then using a decongestant may help. The best thing you can do for him is to take him to the local ER or a local doctor for assessment.

I hope my answer is helpful for you and your husband. Please let me know if you need further assistance.

Kind Regards!
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3702 Questions

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My husband is 70 yrs old. We are on holiday

Brief Answer: he'd better visit a local doctor or the local ER Detailed Answer: Hello, welcome to the 'Ask a Doctor' service. Shortness of breath is a serious symptom in most cases. Inability to talk without having to stop to catch his breath is not normal. If the symptom begun suddenly then it's a little more alarming. If by 'shortness of breath' he only means a stuffy nose then this is not as serious as the aforementioned cases. Signs of a more serious disorders may include any (or all) of the following: - increased respiratory rate (number of breaths per minute): we normally take 14-20 breaths per minute. Anything higher than that and particularly anything higher than 25 breaths per minute requires urgent investigation. - faintness - increased heart rate: serious shortness of breath usually causes a rapid heart rate. More than 100 beats per minute is never normal. - Wheezing There are more signs of serious respiratory tract disease but it's not easy for the untrained eye to spot them like the use of accessory respiratory muscles (for example). If there are no signs of serious disease and he only has a stuffy nose then using a decongestant may help. The best thing you can do for him is to take him to the local ER or a local doctor for assessment. I hope my answer is helpful for you and your husband. Please let me know if you need further assistance. Kind Regards!