Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound made while breathing, usually breathing out (expiration). Wheezing results from narrowed airways. The most common cause of recurrent wheezing is asthma, but there are many other possible causes of wheezing.
Talk to your doctor if wheezing is happening for the first time, if it's a recurrent, unexplained problem, or if it's accompanied by:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Altered mental state
- Allergic reaction to an insect bite or medication
Seek emergency care if wheezing is severe or results in:
- An inability to catch a breath
- Hives and swelling in the face or throat
To ease wheezing, try these tips:
- Breathe moisturized air. Sit in the bathroom with the door closed while running a hot, steamy shower or use a vaporizer. Moist, warm air may help relieve wheezing in some instances.
- Take all prescribed medications as directed, especially respiratory inhalers.
Dec. 23, 2010
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- Wheezing. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec05/ch045/ch045j.html#. Accessed Oct. 21, 2010.
- Kraft M. Approach to the patient with respiratory disease. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/224115160-2/0/1492/347.html?tocnode=54615300&fromURL=347.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50088-4_3500. Accessed Oct. 21, 2010.
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