Wheezing, a high-pitched whistling sound, is produced when you breathe through narrowed or obstructed respiratory airways. This sound is heard clearly when you exhale.
Due to the obstructed airways, breathing can become difficult and you can also have a feeling of tightness in the chest. Additionally, it can cause a feeling of giddiness as well as lack of energy, due to reduced oxygen in the body.
Wheezing is not a health problem in itself. In fact, it is a symptom that can occur with many health conditions, including acute bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary edema (a buildup of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs), tracheobronchitis (inflammation of the windpipe and bronchi) and dysfunction of the vocal cords, to name a few.
If you suffer from wheezing for a long time, it can get worse and degrade your quality of life by affecting your sleep and making you feel tired and irritated. It is important to get the problem solved as quickly as possible.
The high-pitched whistling sound when exhaling can be alleviated with simple home remedies. But for the treatment to be successful, it is essential to find out the underlying cause and treat it.
Here are the top 10 ways to stop wheezing quickly.
1. Steam Therapy
For quick relief from wheezing, nothing works faster than steam inhalation.
Steam inhalation is an excellent remedy because it reduces obstruction in the airways by helping you get rid of thick phlegm and mucus.
Infusing the steam with essential oil will make this therapy work even better.
- Fill a large bowl with boiling water.
- Add a few drops of any essential oil of your choice (for instance, peppermint or eucalyptus oil).
- As you lean over the bowl, drape a towel over your head to trap the steam.
- Inhale the steam through your nose and mouth for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat as needed.
2. Hot Shower
Just like steam therapy, taking a hot shower can make your breathing more comfortable and stop the wheezing.
The warmth of a hot shower relaxes tense airways and the moisture thins the mucus clogging them.
- Run a hot shower with the bathroom door closed to create a sauna-like atmosphere.
- Stand in the shower for 5 to 10 minutes, keeping the door closed.
- Do it 2 or 3 times a day.
You can also apply a warm compress to the nose and throat keep the nasal passages open and clear of obstruction.
3. Warm Fluids
No matter what, it is important to keep your body hydrated. When it comes to wheezing, drinking warm fluids will hydrate your body as well as soothe stressed airways to help you breathe without difficulty.
Warm fluids can also loosen up sticky mucus in your throat and airways.
- Drinking warm water with a little bit of lemon juice is the best option.
- Drinking herbal teas, such as ginger, chamomile or licorice root tea, will also help.
- Having hot soup is another good choice. Stick with broth-based soups and avoid creamy soups.
- Just 2 or 3 cups of coffee can also offer some benefit.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another popular home treatment is apple cider vinegar. However, it is important to use good quality organic apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ to get the best results.
This tonic helps the body function more optimally by balancing the pH level in the body and flushing out toxins. It also has important nutrients that help support the respiratory system.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey to it and mix thoroughly.
- Drink this tonic twice daily.
Ginger is one of the best home treatments for wheezing. It has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in inhibiting contraction and easing inflammation in the airways. It also works as a muscle relaxant to ease chest tightness.
In addition, ginger is an immune-booster.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of warm ginger tea daily. To make the tea, add 1 tablespoon of ginger slices to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then strain it. Drink the tea while it is still warm.
- Alternatively, mix ginger juice, honey and pomegranate juice in equal amounts. Consume 1 tablespoon of this concoction 3 or 4 times daily.
Garlic is another effective remedy for stopping wheezing. It is even beneficial for treating asthma and coughing.
This antioxidant-rich herb helps neutralize free radicals and reduces the contraction of the airways to help you breathe properly. It also reduces histamine release in the body, which in turn prevents asthma attacks.
- Crush 3 to 4 cloves of garlic and boil them in 1 cup of water or milk. Allow it to cool before drinking it. Drink this 2 or 3 times a day.
- Alternatively, have a garlic clove along with 1 teaspoon of honey, 2 times a day.
- You can also take garlic supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
7. Warm Oil Massage
Any warm oil massage will help break down mucus buildup in the airways, which will relieve wheezing. Massaging the nostrils with warm oil will also improve breathing and provide instant comfort.
You can use mustard, olive, coconut or sesame oil, but make sure it is warm.
- Gently massage the warm oil on your chest as well as your nostrils for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day to prevent the symptoms from surfacing again.
8. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil can open blocked air passages and offer instant relief from wheezing. The oil is packed with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and decongestant properties.
This essential oil also promotes relaxation and reduces stress, which further helps ease symptoms.
- Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a paper towel and keep it near your head when sleeping to help you breathe better at night.
- Another option is to add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a pot of boiling water. Then, inhale the steam for 10 minutes for instant relief.
- Also, you can mix a little eucalyptus oil with any massage oil and rub it on your chest. Place a warm, wet towel over your chest for about 10 to 15 minutes. Do this twice daily.
Turmeric is another effective remedy to stop wheezing quickly.
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric helps clear the blockage in the nasal passages and also soothes irritation and inflammation.
You can use any of the following remedies twice daily.
- Heat a glass of water and add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder to it. Allow it to boil. Drink this once or twice daily.
- Thoroughly mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 2 teaspoons of organic honey and consume it.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon each of turmeric powder, grated ginger and black pepper powder in 1 cup of water. Bring this to a boil and allow it to cool. Strain and then drink it.
10. House Free of Irritants
To prevent frequent episodes of wheezing as well as asthma, it is very important to keep your house and the surrounding area clean.
This will help remove irritants from the air you breathe that can otherwise trigger wheezing.
- Dust, sweep and vacuum your home regularly.
- If you have a pet, vacuum more frequently to control pet dander and fur in your house.
- Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning or vacuuming to limit dust and chemical exposure.
- Clean or change the filters in your heating and cooling system as needed.
- Use an air purifier in the rooms where you spend the most time.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom.
- Don’t smoke and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Wash all bedding and stuffed animals frequently in hot water.
- Rest is one of the best treatments for acute wheezing.
- If wheezing is related to an allergic reaction, try to avoid the allergen causing the reaction.
- Avoid exposure to strong perfumes, paint and strong-smelling chemicals.
- Avoid industrial areas with heavily polluted air.
- Cover your neck and mouth with a scarf when going out in cold weather.
- Avoid eating or drinking ice cream, cold drinks and any other cold items.
- You can also take fish oil supplements, after consulting your doctor.
- Eat something spicy to help open up blocked airways.