Q:

What causes wheezing?

A:

Quick Answer

Asthma is the primary cause of wheezing. Other causes include gastroesophageal reflux disease, pneumonia, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, according to Mayo Clinic. Conditions such as allergic reaction, respiratory tract infection, bronchiolitis and reaction to smoking can also trigger wheezing, notes Healthline.

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Full Answer

Wheezing is a condition characterized by a whistling sound and typically occurs when breathing out through constricted airways. Inflammation of the airways and triggers such as irritants and allergies can cause wheezing, causing breathlessness and coughing, explains MedicineNet. A foreign object or tumor can obstruct airways, causing wheezing, states Mayo Clinic.

Patients with symptoms such as rapid breathing, difficulty breathing and briefly bluish skin color should seek medical advice, advises Mayo Clinic. Treatments include syrups, long-acting tablets and inhalers to break up excess mucus in the airways and reduce inflammation, according to Healthline. Other treatments include quick-acting medications, such as bronchodilators, to relax the muscles in the breathing tubes and relieve the cough. Conditions such as COPD and chronic asthma may require long-term treatment.

Patients can ease wheezing by avoiding tobacco smoke, taking a steamy shower, drinking warm liquids and taking medication as directed, says Mayo Clinic. Sitting in a warm bathroom and keeping the house humid and warm can open up the airways, improving the condition, explains Healthline.

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