Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Pneumonia 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 Pneumonia Prevention

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