Medical Awareness >>   Wheezing



Wheezing causes a high-pitched, coarse whistling noise when one breathes. Wheezing often comes with asthma, and it may also happen because of respiratory infections like acute bronchitis. 

Various medications can alleviate wheezing. One should be closely monitored on the onset of asthma, severe allergies, and related problems. 


The whistling sound occurs when air moves through narrowed airways. Many health issues can cause wheezing, like:

  • Asthma condition: Airways narrow and swell, making extra mucus, and hard to breathe.
  • Allergy to pollen, chemicals, pets, dust, etc
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Cystic fibrosis damaging the lungs and making the mucus extra sticky and thick
  • Obstruction of an airway because of inhaling an object 
  • Lung cancer
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Pneumonia: Inflammation of the lungs air sacs, filling them with fluid or pus.
  • Bronchiolitis: A lung infection that swells up the airways, causing congestion.
  • Emphysema condition affecting the lungs, causing shortness of breath
  • Smoking or passive smoke
  • Respiratory syncytial virus leading to bronchiolitis.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Vocal cord problems
  • Sleep apnea


The first priority treatment is the supply of oxygen. Later, the medication depends on the situation. Some common treatments are:

Asthma prescription:

  • Medication to ease inflammation and open airways
  • Inhalation of corticosteroids to fight inflammation
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists 

Bronchitis prescription:

  • A bronchodilator to clear airways
  • An antibiotic for bacterial infection

Some home remedies to reduce wheezing:

  • Allow the air to be moist. Use a humidifier, a warm shower.
  • Drink something warm. 
  • Don't smoke and avoid passive smoking.
  • Take prescribed medicines as per the healthcare provider.
  • Do breathing exercises to help the lungs function better. 
  • Clean the air. Use an air cleaner to erase the allergens that often lead to asthma attacks.

Fact Sheet

Numbers: About 6% of children and 2% of adults have asthma in India.

PGC Resolution: To develop and implement policies to improve the quality of life for people with wheezing and allergies. Also, to prepare standards for testing a wide range of products to determine their suitability for wheezing, asthma, and individuals with associated allergies.