Respiratory paralysis due to renal tubular acidosis (RTA) is rare. We report a 22-year-old lady who developed severe bulbar, respiratory and limb paralysis following respiratory infection. She had hypokalemia (1.6 meq/L) and hyperchloremic (110 meq/l) acidosis (pH 7.1). She was diagnosed as distal RTA by ammonium chloride test. She improved following sodium bicarbonate and potassium supplementation. RTA should be differentiated from familial periodic paralysis (FPP) because acetazolamide used in FPP aggravates RTA and sodium bicarbonate used in RTA aggravates hypokalemic periodic paralysis.