Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Wheezing
Wheezing is a whistling noise of varying pitch and loudness that
occurs when the small airways of the lungs become narrower because of inflammation or a
buildup of mucus and dead cells in the airway. As these small air passages
become narrower, wheezing may be heard when the person breathes out. As the
passages continue to narrow, wheezing may be heard when the person breathes
both in and out.
When a person has severe difficulty breathing, wheezing may no
longer be heard because very little air is moving through the narrowed
A doctor may order a chest X-ray or breathing test (spirometry) to
determine the cause of a person's wheezing. Some causes of wheezing include
bronchitis, allergies, or asthma. Treatment depends on the cause of the
wheezing and may include medicines, an inhaler, or a machine to help a person
Current as of:
August 21, 2015
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.