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What is wheezing?

Wheezing is a whistling sound produced when you have trouble breathing because your airways are swollen and narrowed. Wheezing can have many possible causes including:
  • asthma
  • allergies, especially to insect stings
  • weakness in the cartilage near the vocal cords in infants (which usually resolves on its own as the infant matures)
  • inhaling a foreign object (requires immediate emergency medical attention)
  • cystic fibrosis
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • heart failure
  • pneumonia
  • smoking
  • viral infections (especially in very young children)
  • gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • allergy to medication
Call your doctor if you experience wheezing for the first time, if wheezing is part of an allergic reaction, if wheezing keeps recurring, or if you are experiencing difficulty breathing, mental confusion or bluish skin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.