It is a whistling sound heard when someone is breathing through a narrow airway. It is often more noticeable when breathing out.
Sometimes it can only be heard on auscultation with a stethoscope but in more severe cases it can be audible to the human ear.
Mild wheezing in the context of a known viral respiratory tract infection does not always require specific treatment and rapidly resolves with the self-limiting illness.
A new, recurrent or explained it needs investigation and treatment. This is especially important if it is associated with shortness of breath. Emergency assessment is required when the wheeze onset is sudden and there is severe difficulty in breathing or a rash (e.g. allergic reaction).
Identifying the cause of the it and focusing treatment to the underlying condition is needed.
Bronchodilators help to open up the airways and relieve the airflow obstruction. Inhaled corticosteroids are also helpful to reduce inflammation resulting in narrowing of the airways.
Measures that can help reduce wheeze include: