When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Mild wheezing that occurs along with symptoms of a cold or upper respiratory infection (URI), does not always need treatment.

See a doctor if you develop wheezing that is unexplained, keeps coming back (recurrent), or is accompanied by any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Briefly bluish skin color

Seek emergency care if wheezing:

  • Begins suddenly after being stung by a bee, taking medication or eating an allergy-causing food
  • Is accompanied by severe difficulty breathing or bluish skin color
  • Occurs after choking on a small object or food

In some cases, wheezing can be relieved by certain medications or use of an inhaler. In others, you might need emergency treatment.

Self-care measures

To ease mild wheezing related to a cold or URI, try these tips:

  • Moisturize the air. Use a humidifier, take a steamy shower or sit in the bathroom with the door closed while running a hot shower. Moist air might help relieve mild wheezing in some instances.
  • Drink fluids. Warm liquids can relax the airway and loosen up sticky mucus in your throat.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke. Active or passive smoking can worsen wheezing.
  • Take all prescribed medications. Follow the doctor's instructions.
April 27, 2017