Wheezing can be a little uncomfortable or embarrassing, but don't worry: it rarely indicates a more serious health condition and treatment is relatively easy. This sound is similar to a “whistle” and is produced on exhaling or inhaling, accompanied by airway obstruction and difficulty breathing. So they don't happen again, use heat and steam to relax your lungs so they can get air easier. There is a possibility that you may need medical treatment, especially when the problem is due to severe allergies or asthma; if the underlying cause is serious, make an appointment to see a pulmonologist as soon as possible or go to the emergency room.
Method 1 of 3: Seeking Medical Care for More Severe Wheezing
Step 1. When wheezing starts to interfere with your daily life, it is a sign that you should go to the doctor
The sound may be accompanied by the inability to perform certain tasks (running, swimming or weight training), which requires an accurate diagnosis; they are often the result of another disorder such as allergies or asthma. Therefore, make an appointment as soon as possible to determine the cause of wheezing, especially if it persists for a few days.
- Although it is never pleasant, going to the pulmonologist is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of this condition.
- If there is chest pain along with the noises, go to the hospital immediately.
Step 2. Describe the "whistling" and any related symptoms to the doctor
He will ask you some questions about the symptoms and what “triggers” the noise; describe how long this has been happening and if there is something that aggravates the discomfort, such as physical activity. The specialist will also be able to listen to the pulmonary status through the stethoscope and will ask for an evaluation of the respiratory function.
- There are some conditions where wheezing is more common: asthma, allergies, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, as well as anxiety disorders.
- You may need to undergo other tests, such as blood count and chest X-ray, depending on the case.
Step 3. At the doctor, ask if using an inhaler will help
Such devices, which are filled with drugs that release phlegm, such as salbutamol, end wheezing at the same time. With this information in hand, it is a good idea to see a doctor to see if the inhaler will work for you. If a child has asthma, an adult needs to be around for help, so take him to a specialist.
When arising from asthma, wheezing may be treated with bronchodilator inhalers, which are emergency, with corticosteroids, by a combination of bronchodilators and corticosteroids (both inhaled), or by capsules that will control asthma
Step 4. The pulmonologist will be able to accurately diagnose the disorder causing the disorder
Medical treatment varies according to the condition, as there are many that can have this uncomfortable symptom; fortunately, the specialization of pulmonologists will allow them to make a diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate medications according to the table.
- For example, when wheezing is caused by allergy, he will recommend that the patient avoid allergens, but he may also prescribe an antihistamine, without sedative, to minimize the manifestations.
- During the consultation, ask if the source of wheezing can come from pollution, immune system hyperactivity or even a digestive allergy.
- Medical conditions, such as asthma and allergies, can be caused by an autoimmune dysfunction. By moving away from the triggering agent, your symptoms may improve. As an example, there are patients who notice improvements when removing gluten or lactose from their food, characterizing an allergy. Likewise, treat hidden infections, which may be causing the immune system to overreact and attack the lungs.
- Your doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator inhaler to resolve the noises arising from bronchitis; if there is a bacterial infection, an antibiotic should also be given.
- When the manifestation is caused by an anxiety disorder, it is important to seek treatment, either through the use of drugs (psychiatrist), psychotherapy (therapists or psychologists) or a combination of both.
Step 5. Go to the emergency room if you are having difficulty breathing
Noise can interfere with breathing, so it's better to be safe than sorry; go to the nearest hospital or ask someone to take you. Intense lethargy, dizziness and high fever, as well as the appearance of a bluish tinge to the skin along with the noises also require you to seek emergency care as soon as possible.
- Giving an epinephrine injection to unclog the airway may be the best option. Depending on the diagnosis, the treatment can be done with oxygen supply, corticosteroids, nebulizers or even the use of respirators (mechanical ventilation).
- Even though they seem very drastic measures, don't worry: they are all painless and will fight your wheezing effectively.
Method 2 of 3: Relaxing the Chest Region and Lungs
Step 1. Inhale steam to promote lung relaxation by relieving the airways inside
A good option is to take a shower with hot water, but turning on a steamer in the room will also work. When inhaling the hot, moist steam, the airways, which will be stiff, will relax and release the phlegm that clogs the inner lungs, allowing you to breathe without discomfort. After about five to ten minutes, the wheezing should stop.
There is also the method of water (1 L) with peppermint oil (eight to ten drops). Boil this mixture and, as soon as the water starts to evaporate, move the container to a smaller, tightly closed room. Breathe in the steam
Step 2. Drink warm liquids to relax your lungs and fight wheezing
Prepare a hot drink and sip it for ten to 15 minutes; a hot tea is recommended, so buy ginger, chamomile, menthol, or licorice root. The heated fluids "soothe" the airways, which will be tense, so that the "whistles" soon disappear…
In moderate amounts, coffee will also have good results. Caffeine dilates the pulmonary airways, allowing for better breathing and an end to wheezing. However, caffeine also dehydrates the body; just limit consumption to 250 ml per day and continue drinking hydrating fluids
Step 3. Warm up your chest and upper back (cervical) to relax both your air passages and your muscles
The "whistles" indicate difficulty breathing, which causes the body to tighten and constrict the airway. So that this does not happen, as well as this uncomfortable symptom, moisten a hand towel in the kitchen sink and place it in the microwave for two minutes at medium intensity. Once warm, leave the towel over the chest, neck, shoulders and neck for ten minutes so that the heat feels good on the skin, relaxing the lungs. Have a friend or relative give you a few firm pats on the back while the towel is on the torso, which releases the lung mucus.
- Instead of a hot towel, a bottle of warm water will also do. However, be careful that she doesn't get “peeling” or you could get a burn. The temperature should feel good against the skin.
- These noises occur due to muscle tension in the chest. Warming it promotes relaxation and fights the symptom.
Step 4. Calm down
It is normal for the body to suffer from stiffness when affected by wheezing, making the passage of air through the lungs and throat smaller. There is no secret: you must be calm for these avenues to open up. Any activity that relaxes you without putting pressure on your lungs can be beneficial, such as breathing exercises, meditation, listening to calm music, or even taking a hot bath.
As your body relaxes, the lung phlegm will soften and detach, allowing you to breathe normally again
Method 3 of 3: Neutralizing Environmental Triggers
Step 1. Thoroughly clean the room and house
This will get rid of dust and any agents that can irritate the lungs, decreasing the chance of suffering from wheezing. Sweep, mop and vacuum dust both at home and at your workplace (office, for example) at least once a week; pet owners may have to use a vacuum cleaner every two days to collect their hair. Every three months, clean and change filters on any heating or cooling system (air conditioning, for example) or install hypoallergenic filters to more effectively block any agents that might irritate the respiratory system.
Leave an air purifier, even a small one, on in rooms where you spend most of your time, such as your office at work and in your bedroom
Step 2. Go on an elimination diet to find out if you have food allergies
The immune system may consider certain foods as “threats”, causing it to attack the body itself. Symptoms such as wheezing, itching and rashes, among others, may appear. To determine if the noises are linked to a food allergy, eliminate delicacies that may have any ingredients that cause such a reaction more often: do not eat anything with gluten, soy, wheat and artificial sweeteners, as well as dairy products, nuts and seafood for six weeks. After this period, incorporate again one of these foods at a time, noting if there are any allergies.
- When verifying that the allergic manifestations disappeared during the new feeding, it is very likely that there is, in fact, an allergy to some food. On the other hand, if they return after consuming a food, it has something that "triggers" the immune system reaction. Cut it out of your food to feel better.
- Gluten and dairy are the most common “culprits” in relation to food sensitivities.
- Consult a nutritionist, who will help you create a good elimination diet that suits your needs.
Step 3. Take care of your bowel health to fight and prevent leaky bowel syndrome
This condition is characterized by the formation of small holes in these organs, so that toxins and bacteria “leak” into the body, causing several other problems, such as wheezing, allergies and asthma. The orifices originate either from the patient's genetics or from an unbalanced diet; therefore, incorporate high fiber foods, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Gut health will improve as long as you don't consume sugar and limit your intake of alcoholic beverages and saturated fats.
- It is recommended to eliminate all processed foods from the diet.
- Once you've identified a food that causes an allergy, don't eat it anymore.
- Walking for 15 to 20 minutes after meals also helps in the treatment and even prevents leaky bowel syndrome.
Step 4. Stay away from possible allergens and other “triggers” that cause your wheezing
Being exposed to irritants, whether present in food or in the environment, can cause this symptom to attack; foods - such as dairy products, bananas and anything with sugar - still encourage the production of phlegm, making the "whistling" worse. If in doubt, as food, pet hair or pollens can cause sensitivity, consult an allergist for an examination.
Seasonal allergies that do not improve with over-the-counter antihistamines require a visit to the doctor. He will prescribe more potent remedies for more severe allergies
Step 5. Avoid strong odors, which sometimes tighten the airways
They're not necessarily bad for your lungs as long as you're healthy. When the airways are constricted, they will become even narrower, so avoid the smell of paint and cleaning products, which can trigger wheezing. Even intense fragrances such as perfumes, shampoos and soaps are not recommended.
Inhaling strong odors may cause or aggravate “whistling”
- If you are susceptible to wheezing, do not smoke and do not share the space with smokers. Avoid going to industrial areas where the air is more polluted.
- Wear a scarf in winter and on colder days, especially if noises occur outside. Cold air can contribute to strain on the airways and lungs, so protect your mouth and neck with a scarf.
- Wheezing can be caused or aggravated by hyperventilation. When you notice both symptoms, learn to breathe more calmly to reduce wheezing and emotional outages.