Treatment for wheezing depends on the underlying cause. Common causes include allergic reactions, COPD, and asthma. Regardless of the underlying cause, treatment often includes inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, and oral corticosteroids. Wheezing that develops in response to an acute allergic reaction may also be treated with antihistamines and corticosteroids.
General treatment for wheezing includes:
- Relax and remain calm.
- Remain in a sitting position: do not lay down.
- Use an inhaler or nebulizer as directed.
- Measure peak expiratory flow rate after treatment.
- Seek medical care if:
- Symptoms worsen
- Symptoms do not improve with treatment
Specific treatment for wheezing may include:
- Inhaled bronchodilators:
- Oral medications that reduce swelling of the air passages:
For more information:
Wheezing Drug Therapy
Most patients with wheezing require treatment with inhalers. These medications open the air passages and reduce swelling.
Short-acting inhaled bronchodilators include:
- Albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil, Volmax)
- Levalbuterol (Xopenex)
- Metaproterenol (Alupent, Metaprel)
- Pirbuterol (Maxair)
- Terbutaline (Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl)
- Ipratropium (Atrovent)
Long-acting inhaled bronchodilators include:
Additional medications include:
- Inhaled corticosteroids:
- Fluticasone (Flovent)
- Triamcinolone (Azmacort)
- Beclomethasone (Beclovent, Vanceril)
- Budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort)
- Cromolyn inhaler
- Nedocromil inhaler (Alocril)
- Leukotriene inhibitors:
- Oral corticosteroid medications:
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat wheezing:
Continue to Wheezing Home Care
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- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4 Suppl 1):S40-1. 
- Keeley D, McKean M. Asthma and other wheezing disorders of childhood. Clin Evid. 2003 Jun;(9):287-317. 
- Miranowski AC, Grammer LC. Occupational immunologic lung disease. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4 Suppl 1):S36-7. 
- Roback MG, Dreitlein DA. Chest radiograph in the evaluation of first time wheezing episodes: review of current clinical practice and efficacy. Pediatr Emerg Care. 1998 Jun;14(3):181-4.