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Overview of Wheezing

Wheezing is the whistling noise that occurs when you breathe. This is most common in those that have difficulty breathing. This symptom usually happens when people breathe in and when they breathe out. For people with asthma, wheezing is usually a result of an exacerbation.

Cause of Wheezing

Wheezing can be caused by a variety of things. The most simple breakdown of why wheezing occurs, is that the narrowing of the airway causes the wheezing sound. The most common cause of wheezing is because of asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Both of these conditions occur when there are spasms and narrowing of the airways. It does not have to be a serious condition, as any inflammation in your throat can lead to this. Other conditions may include: an infection, allergic reaction, tumor, or object that has been inhaled.

How to Diagnose Wheezing

The first step to discovering the cause of the wheeze is to keep track of symptoms and what caused you to wheeze. You will want to take this diary to your appointment with your physician. Your physician may ask more follow-up questions. Your physician will also listen to your lungs. This will allow the physician to see where the wheezing is and how much wheezing you are having. If you have no prior lung problems, then your physician may recommend that you have a chest x-ray done, or complete a lung function test. Depending on the cause of your wheezing, your physician may recommend a blood test or allergy skin test.

Treatments for Wheezing

If your wheezing seems to be very frequent, then you will want to meet with your physician to see what can be done to improve your breathing. If your physician recommends an inhaler to help with your asthma-related wheezing, then you will want to use this as necessary. Talk with your physician about creating an action plan. This action plan will list the necessary steps to take at different levels of wheezing. A key point of treatment is to keep track of what your symptoms are and when they occur. From this information, your physician will be able to narrow down a diagnosis. Some people will deal with wheezing for the rest of their life, as it is related to a long-term illness. In this case, keep your physician updated on what you are going through in order to prevent complications.

Risk Factors for Wheezing

There are various risk factors that are associated with wheezing. People that have allergies or asthma are at a higher risk of developing a wheeze. If your parent also struggles with allergies, asthma, or wheezes, then you will also be at a higher risk for this as well. Children in their first few years of life will also develop a wheeze. In most cases, this is not a serious case of wheezing and will usually go away on its own.

Complications with Wheezing

While typically there are no complications with wheezing along; it is typically a sign of another problem that is occurring. To properly handle your wheezing, you will want to see your physician when wheezing begins and follow the treatment plan perfectly. If your wheezing worsens, then you may have other complications occur, such as an altered mental state or shortness of breath.

When to See a Doctor about Wheezing

Wheezing can be normal if you have symptoms of a cold or respiratory infection. In this case, no treatment is needed. You will want to see your physician if your wheezing is unexplained, or recurrent, or you have difficulty breathing, turn blue, or have rapid breathing.

You will need to call 911 or go to the emergency room if you: are choking, turn blue, have been stung, or have eaten food that you believe is causing an allergy.

At Home Remedies for Wheezing

Home remedies for wheezing are mainly related to treating a cold or a respiratory infection. Most people believe that you want the air to be dry when you have a respiratory infection, but the opposite is true. You will want to moisturize the air. You can do this by sitting with a humidifier or taking a steamy shower. Another option is to turn the faucet on with hot water, and cover the faucet and your face with a towel and breathe in the moist air. This moist air may help with wheezing. Tobacco smoke can often time make wheezing worse. If you smoke, you will need to quit immediately. If you are continuously around someone that smokes, then you will need to distance yourself from the tobacco smoker. Also, be sure that you are getting enough fluids. It is especially helpful if the liquids are warm. If you are on prescribed medication, then continue to take that regularly.

Asthma and Wheezing

Wheezing is one of the main symptoms of asthma since wheezing happens when the airways of the lungs become narrow. Wheezing is typically seen with asthma if a child has wheezing and allergies as well. The child is more likely to have wheezing if their parent also struggles with allergies, asthma, or wheezing. The physician will not be able to confirm an asthma diagnosis until there is a breathing test done. In some cases, the child will be too young for the lung function test, so your child’s physician may need a detailed record of when and why your child is wheezing.

How to Prevent Wheezing

If your wheezing is caused by a chronic illness, then there is not much prevention that can happen without help from your physician. Taking the proper medications and following at-home remedies for wheezing are the best steps that you can take to improve your symptoms. If you think that your symptoms are improving, do not stop taking your medication. If you are ready to stop taking your medication, then you will want to speak with your physician first. In most cases, if you end medication without your physician’s consent, then you will have a very dangerous relapse occur.