Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes narrowing of the air passages, due to an autoimmune response to an allergy. Wheezing is a high pitched sound made by the air when passing through the narrow air passages when exhaling, but in severe cases there is also wheezing when inhaling. Take note that wheezing is a common symptom of asthma.
It is not a normal sound when the passage of air is blocked or narrowed caused by some pathology, but sometimes a high flow of air can also cause wheezing sounds. Wheezing sound can also be heard in some conditions such as pneumonia, vocal cord problems and a chronic disease of the respiratory tract. The location of the wheezing sound is important for the diagnosis of asthma.
A gentle wheezing is an indication of asthma while localized wheezing indicates an occlusion of the respiratory tree that is caused by a foreign body or a tumor. Wheezing can also be accompanied by rales which are abnormal sounds of the lungs similar to discontinuous clicking, rattling sounds. Wheezing sound with rales is caused by accumulation of fluid in the lungs particularly in conditions such as tuberculosis or among chronic alcoholics.
Symptoms of wheezing in asthma
- Coughing that becomes worse at night and during early in the morning and there is disturbance of sleep.
- There is shortness of breath or breathlessness caused by an obstruction of the passages of air. A forceful expiration is needed and results to breathlessness.
- Tightness of the chest and a sensation that the chest is being squeezed.
Treatment and home remedies of wheezing with asthma
- Avoid exposure to allergens such as dust, pollen, mites and even some types of foods.
- Avoid being stressed since it can cause an asthma attack in some individuals.
- Take a prescribed medication such as albuterol that is dispensed through a nebulizer or a hand-held inhaler. It helps relax and open the respiratory air passages, stops wheezing and the affected person can breathe easily and freely.
- Drink a cup of hot liquid every 15 minutes. This helps soothe and relax the airways and helps them open up. The heat can help loosen some internal phlegm or mucous which can also cause wheezing. Caffeinated hot drinks can also help in relaxing the muscles of the airways.
- When coughing, firmly pat the chest in order to break up and eliminate internal mucous. Accumulation of phlegm that is caused by common cold or some respiratory conditions can cause difficulty in breathing and makes the wheezing worse.
- Avoid exposure to airborne irritants by staying indoors or wear a face mask. This helps prevent a wheezing episode before it begins.
- Install an indoor air filter since it helps in purifying the air and minimize health risk caused by dust and other irritants.