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.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Jan. 11, 2018

See also

  1. Acute bronchitis: Is it contagious?
  2. Albuterol side effects
  3. Allergies
  4. Allergies and asthma
  5. Allergy medications: Know your options
  6. Allergy-proof your home
  7. Alpha-gal syndrome
  8. Anaphylaxis
  9. Anaphylaxis: First aid
  10. Ascariasis
  11. Aspergillosis
  12. Asthma
  13. Asthma and acid reflux
  14. Asthma attack
  15. Asthma diet
  16. Asthma inhalers: Which one's right for you?
  17. Asthma: Colds and flu
  18. Asthma medications
  19. Asthma: Testing and diagnosis
  20. Asthma treatment: 3 steps
  21. Asthma treatment: Do complementary and alternative approaches work?
  22. Atrioventricular canal defect
  23. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  24. Bronchiolitis
  25. Bronchitis
  26. Carcinoid tumors
  27. Cardiac asthma: What causes it?
  28. Infographic: Cardiac sarcoidosis: A heart under attack
  29. Chronic cough
  30. COPD
  31. Cystic fibrosis
  32. What is cystic fibrosis? A Mayo Clinic expert explains
  33. Cystic fibrosis FAQs
  34. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  35. Does honey offer sweet relief for allergies?
  36. Dust mite allergy
  37. Food allergy
  38. Food allergy or intolerance?
  39. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  40. Heart failure
  41. Heart failure and sex: Is it safe?
  42. Holiday Heart
  43. Lung cancer
  44. Infographic: Lung Cancer
  45. Lung Cancer
  46. Lung nodules: Can they be cancerous?
  47. Infographic: Lung Transplant for Cystic Fibrosis
  48. Milk allergy
  49. Nasal Cleaning
  50. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  51. Neuroblastoma
  52. Ozone air purifiers
  53. Peanut allergy
  54. Pectus excavatum
  55. Pectus excavatum
  56. Penicillin allergy
  57. Photodynamic therapy: An effective treatment for lung cancer?
  58. Pulmonary edema
  59. Pulmonary embolism
  60. Reactive airway disease: Is it asthma?
  61. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  62. Sarcoidosis
  63. Shellfish allergy
  64. Super Survivor Conquers Cancer
  65. Vascular rings
  66. Asthma attack video
  67. Dry powder disk inhaler
  68. Dry powder tube inhaler
  69. Video: How to use a peak flow meter
  70. Single-dose dry powder inhaler
  71. Using a metered dose asthma inhaler and spacer
  72. Vocal cord dysfunction
  73. Heart failure action plan
  74. What is aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD)?