Wheezing cough: What are the possible causes?

Wheezing is described as a high-pitched, whistle-like sound that the lungs produce when breathing in and out. This typically develops once the flow of air is obstructed or constricted that causes the air to whistle via the narrowed air passages.

If the wheezing is accompanied by cough and phlegm production, it is an indication of a respiratory condition or viral illness. It is best to consult a doctor right away if breathing problems persist. The respiratory conditions often require proper diagnosis by a doctor.


Asthma is a long-lasting respiratory condition that causes the bronchial airways to narrow during an attack. The asthma attacks are triggered by exercise or being exposed to chemicals or allergens. Once the bronchial tubes react to a particular trigger, the pathways rapidly constrict which results to wheezing, labored breathing and coughing.

The tubes generate phlegm or mucus in an attempt to eliminate the irritants and as a secondary reaction to the inflammation. The rapid-acting bronchodilators and long-term preventive inhaler steroids are the commonly used treatment measures.

Can COPD cause wheezing?

Wheezing cough

If the wheezing is accompanied by cough and phlegm production, it is an indication of a respiratory condition or viral illness.

Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the 2 chief conditions that comprise COPD. The condition develops due to damaged airways that eventually disrupts with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the lungs.

The chest tightness, wheezing and chronic coughing that produces yellowish sputum can indicate chronic bronchitis. In cases of chronic asthmatic bronchitis, there is also wheezing cough with phlegm but the sputum tends to vary in color.

Acute bronchitis

Unlike the chronic cases of bronchitis, an acute case only lasts for a short period usually several weeks or less to achieve full recovery. The wheezing cough with clear, yellowish or greenish phlegm is evident along with fever, sore throat, body aches and chills.

The flu that progresses into pneumonia can also cause wheezing cough with phlegm as well as tuberculosis. A doctor should be consulted since these symptoms are not confined to these conditions alone.

Once an individual starts to experience wheezing, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor so that further assessment can be carried out. Depending on the findings of the doctor, the suitable treatment can be started.


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