A wheezing cough is typically set off by asthma, allergies, viral infection, and in some cases, more severe medical complications. Symptoms can vary depending on the cause, but there are multiple ways to remedy this cough. We’ve put together an ultimate guide to wheezing cough symptoms and remedies.
What Is Wheezing Cough
When the airways become inflamed (bronchospasm), the muscles around the bronchial tubes tighten and constrict the airways. This can lead to a cough with a wheeze sound. Certain triggers like infections, irritants, and allergens all play a role.
A wheezing cough can affect all ages, but it can be especially worrying when it occurs in infants. It’s, therefore, essential to diagnose the underlying problem and treat the symptoms.
A wide range of ailments causes this cough. And they differ between adults and infants.
What does the Cough Sound Like?
Wheezing is often described as a high-pitched sound with course whistling when breathing. This usually happens when exhaling or during expiration, i.e., breathing air out of the lungs, but it can also occur when a person breaths in. The narrowed airways (due to inflammation) make musical or squeaky noises. Imagine the wind blowing through a tunnel or a squeaky toy sounds. The pitch can depend on which part of the lungs are affected. Also, the wheezing can be heard without a stethoscope, but sometimes medical equipment is required.
Usually, the wheezing is accompanied by coughing, but this can vary depending on the cause of the wheezing cough.
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Causes of a Wheezing Cough
Common causes include:
Viral or bacterial infections – for example, bronchitis can produce a chronic cough with shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, mucus, or a low fever that can lead to a wheezing cough. If the common cold settles in the chest, this can also lead to this type of cough. Another lung infection leading to a wheezing cough is pneumonia.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) – is an umbrella term for various other pulmonary diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people have more than one condition, and a wheezing cough can result.
GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. If untreated, the irritation can lead to a wheezing cough.
Allergies – a wheezing cough can result from allergies to dust mites, pollen, foods, pet dander, and mold. Anaphylaxis, which usually requires immediate medical attention, includes troubled breathing and wheezing as a symptom.
Heart disease – heart disease can cause fluid to build on the lungs, depending on the type. In turn, a wheezing cough can develop.
some common causes of a wheezing cough in infants include:
- Respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV)
- Common cold or croup
- Whooping cough
How to Diagnose a Wheezing Cough
One of the best ways to determine the cause of your wheezing cough to get a diagnosis is to track your cough. Traditionally, tracking a cough relied on writing down when you cough. Now there are AI cough tracking apps that solve all the issues relating to manually tracking a cough.
Cough tracking ensures all coughs are monitored 24/7, even while you sleep. It also helps monitor infants who cannot express their condition. This allows medical professionals to identify cough patterns and diagnose ready to provide effective treatment.
Always seek immediate care if you or anyone with a wheezing cough has difficulty breathing. They have extreme fatigue, skin turns a bluish color, or the cough begins after an anaphylactic reaction.
Remedies for Wheezing Cough
Your doctor should provide a treatment plan; however, there are various ways that you can ease your wheezing cough. Only continue with self-treatment if a doctor has given the thumbs up.
Remedies you can try include:
- Inhale moist air or steam to help reduce the severity of your wheezing cough. Try a hot, steamy shower, your head under a towel over a hot bucket of water, or just sit in the bathroom with the shower running hot with the door closed and the fan off.
- A humidifier adds moisture to the air but only use sterile water to prevent cycling germs back into the air.
- Avoid irritants. Make your bedroom a sanctuary by keeping the windows closed and pets out. You can also try an air purifier.
- Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Keep some water next to your bed as well.
- Suck on a menthol cough drop or hard candy before bed to help lubricate your throat.
- Prop up your pillows so that your body is more upright while you sleep to prevent phlegm from pooling in your throat.
- Manage acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
- Add raw honey to tea or swallow it straight. It’s a natural cough suppressant and may help a coughing child sleep better.
- Do some deep breathing exercises. For adults with bronchial asthma, this can be especially helpful.
A wheezing cough is often a symptom of a manageable illness or condition. However, it’s still important to pay attention to your cough, especially an infant’s cough, so that further complication doesn’t arise.
About the Hyfe App
Hyfe uses artificial intelligence to identify coughs. It counts every cough and allows you to compare and track your coughing over time. This gives you objective insights into your coughing and can help you monitor your health in the context of pollution, asthma, or even Covid19. Stay on top of your health by tracking your cough.
Have you tried health tracking apps? What was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!