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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

Wheezing happens when air flows through a narrowed or blocked airway. Wheezing can happen when you breathe in, breathe out, or both. Wheezes may sound like a whistle, squeal, groan, or creak. Wheezes may also sound musical or high-pitched.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You are dizzy, confused, or feel faint.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • Your throat feels like it is swelling or feels tight.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You cough up blood.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your wheezing does not get better or it gets worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may help open your airways, decrease your symptoms, or treat an infection. They may be given as an inhaler, nebulizer, or pill.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self care:

  • Return to your usual activity as directed. You may need to limit certain activities. Ask your healthcare provider when it is okay to resume activity.
  • Take deep breaths and cough several times a day. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection and help decrease wheezing. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath in, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more liquids than usual to thin your mucus and prevent dehydration. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Prevent wheezing:

  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Avoid allergy triggers , such as animals, grass, pollen, or dust.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may be referred to a specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Wheezing

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.