Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Lung Infection Wheezing

Some with pneumonia may experience wheezing. The risk of wheezing is greater in those with COPD or asthma.

Home care for mild wheezing includes:

  • Avoid exposure to smoke.
  • Avoid cough medicine.
  • Avoid sedative medications.
  • Avoid substances that trigger wheezing.
  • Drink plenty of liquids to remain hydrated.
  • Place a vaporizer or nebulizer in the bedroom at night.

Home care for those who take medication for wheezing includes:
  • Follow asthma home care instructions.
  • Learn to use prescribed inhalers correctly.
  • Use short-acting inhalers every 20 minutes, or as directed by your doctor.
  • Long-acting medications must be used as directed.
  • Learn to use a peak flow meter to measure your peak expiratory flow rate (FEFR).
  • Know the peak flow danger zones.
  • Develop a strategy for using your inhaler based on your PEFR reading
  • Stay calm during a wheezing attack.

Peak Expiratory Flow Rate Zones:
  • Green Zone:
    • A PEFR reading that is 80-100% of personal best represents good control
  • Yellow Zone:
    • A PEFR reading that is 50-80% of personal best represents a moderate attack
  • Red Zone:
    • A PEFR reading that is less than 50% of personal best represents a severe attack and may identify the need for treatment in an emergency department

Continue to Lung Infection Prevention

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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