Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Wheezing Overview

What is wheezing?
A person with wheezing makes an abnormal whistling noise when breathing out, after taking a breath. The abnormal sound is created by air passing through narrowed air passageways in the lungs, called bronchioles. Narrowing of the bronchioles may be caused by spasm of the muscles in the wall of the bronchioles, or caused by mucus that lines the inside wall of the bronchioles. Wheezing is a common symptom in those who have asthma, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Wheezing may also occur in those who have pneumonia or bronchitis.

What are the symptoms of wheezing?
Symptoms that occur with wheezing include chest tightness, cough, coughing up mucus, difficulty breathing, sinus congestion, and sore throat.

How does the doctor treat wheezing?
Treatment for wheezing may include inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, or oral corticosteroids. Additional treatment depends on the underlying cause for the wheezing.

Continue to Wheezing Incidence

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Wheezing References
  1. Castro-Rodriguez JA, Rodrigo GJ. beta-agonists through metered-dose inhaler with valved holding chamber versus nebulizer for acute exacerbation of wheezing or asthma in children under 5 years of age: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Pediatr. 2004 Aug;145(2):172-7. [15289762]
  2. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4 Suppl 1):S40-1. [15515377]
  3. Keeley D, McKean M. Asthma and other wheezing disorders of childhood. Clin Evid. 2003 Jun;(9):287-317. [15366138]
  4. Miranowski AC, Grammer LC. Occupational immunologic lung disease. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4 Suppl 1):S36-7. [15515375]
  5. 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. [9655657]
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