Understanding Wheezing -- Symptoms
What Are the Symptoms of Wheezing?
The symptoms of wheezing include a musical or whistling sound and labored breathing, particularly when exhaling; sometimes they're accompanied by a feeling of tightening in the chest. You can hear wheezing more loudly if you plug your ears and exhale rapidly, or by using a stethoscope held at the neck or over the lungs. Another kind of wheezing and gasping sound, called stridor, is heard during inhalation and is usually caused by narrowing of the windpipe or vocal cords.
Call Your Doctor About Wheezing If:
- You are wheezing and do not have a history of asthma or an asthma action plan for how to treat any wheezing
- Wheezing is accompanied by a fever of 101° or above; you may have a respiratory infection such as acute bronchitis, sinusitis, or pneumonia.
- You wheeze frequently and cough up greenish or gray phlegm; you may have chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or COPD.
Get emergency medical help immediately (Call 911) if:
- You have trouble breathing or you feel that you are suffocating; this can be a sign of a severe asthma episode or an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
- You begin wheezing suddenly and cough up frothy pink or white phlegm; this may be a sign of heart failure.
- You cough up bloody phlegm or you have a sharp, localized chest pain (pleurisy); this could be a sign of pulmonary embolism.
- You also have hives; swelling in the face, mouth or neck; bluish tint to your skin; confusion; lightheadedness; or passing out.