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Shortness of Breath in Adults

Recent onset shortness of breath with wheezing is probably a condition called reactive airways disease. This means that the bronchial tubes are irritated and in response produce more mucous and get narrow.

Quite commonly an upper respiratory infection like a chest cold can cause reactive airways. The wheezing, cough and shortness of breath can persist for several weeks to a few months after the cold resolves. New wheezing can also be the start of asthma, perhaps triggered by an allergy to something inside the home or office or outdoor pollen.

Some people wheeze only during exercise, called exercise-induced asthma.

Contact your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe an inhaler to open the bronchial tubes, possibly with a second inhaler to decrease the inflammation inside the airways.

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