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Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Wheezing in Adults

People often jump to the conclusion that wheezing and shortness with exertion mean asthma. Although these are common asthma symptoms, wheezing and exertional shortness of breath can occur with other disorders, such as heart failure.

Sometimes people develop wheezing for the first time following an upper respiratory infection such as bronchitis or a cold. The bronchi in the lungs temporarily become "reactive," meaning that the airways act as though they have temporary asthma. The bronchi get inflamed, produce more mucous, and become more sensitive to cold air, smoke, and other environmental changes.

Did you have a chest cold or upper respiratory infection prior to the onset of wheezing and shortness of breath?

Yes, I had a cold before the symptoms started.

No, I have not had a recent chest cold.

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