Shortness of Breath and Wheezing: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

Learn about the causes and treatment of shortness of breath and wheezing. Discover effective strategies to breathe easier and improve your respiratory health.

breath and wheezing
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Shortness of breath and wheezing are two breathing problems that many people experience. They can make it feel like you’re not getting enough air, and they can make a whistling or wheezing sound when you breathe out.” These problems can happen to anyone, and they can be caused by a variety of things, such as allergies, infections, or lung conditions. It’s important to understand what causes them and how to manage them because they can interfere with your daily life. In this article, we’ll explain what shortness of breath and wheezing are, why they happen, what they feel like, and home remedies to breathe more comfortably.

Understanding Shortness of Breath and Wheezing

Shortness of breath occurs when you have difficulty getting enough air, and it can be caused by a variety of things such as problems with your lungs, your heart not working properly, feeling really anxious or stressed.” or when you are doing intense activities like running fast. If this happens often, it is important to talk to a doctor. Wheezing is when you make a whistling sound when you breathe in, especially when you exhale It can be caused by things like asthma, bronchitis (which often happens when you breathe in when you have a cold), allergies, or chronic bronchitis when your airways are inflamed over a long period of time. There’s something wrong with your breathing, and it’s a good idea to see a doctor to find out the cause and get treatment.

Common Causes of Shortness of Breath and Wheezing

Understanding why these respiratory problems happen is really important to taking care of them. Here are some common things that can cause these problems:

Allergies and things around us:

• Pollen and dust mites: If you are allergic to pollen or small insects called dust mites, your airways may become irritated, and you may be wheezing.

• Smoke and dirty air: Breathing in smoke or dirty air can irritate your airways, causing shortness of breath and wheezing.

• Animal fur and fluff: If you are allergic to pet fur, such as cats or dogs, it can cause wheezing and trouble breathing.

Getting sick:

• Common cold: Sometimes, when you get a cold, it can cause inflammation in your airways and cause wheezing and shortness of breath. But it goes away when it gets cold.

Long-term breathing problems:

• Asthma: If you have asthma, there may be times when you can’t breathe properly and have wheezing.

• COPD: COPD is a lung problem that can make you feel like you can’t catch your breath and cause wheezing. It doesn’t go away.

Heart problems:

• Congestive heart failure: When your heart isn’t working properly, fluid can build up in your lungs, making it difficult to breathe and wheezing.

• Coronary artery disease: If blood doesn’t flow properly to your heart, it can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing.

Feeling really anxious:

• Panic attack: Sometimes, when you are extremely anxious or having a panic attack, it may feel like you can’t breathe properly, and you may be wheezing.


• Beta-blockers: Some medicines such as beta-blockers can have side effects including wheezing.

Being overweight:

• Excess weight: If you are carrying too much weight, it can put pressure on your chest and make it difficult to breathe, possibly causing wheezing. Therefore, understanding these causes can help you and your doctor figure out how to best manage these breathing problems.

Symptoms and When to Seek Help

Recognizing the symptoms of shortness of breath and wheezing is essential for timely intervention. Consider seeking medical help if you experience any of the following:

• Severe shortness of breath: If you are having difficulty breathing and it is not improving, do not hesitate to call for medical help.

• Sudden wheezing: If wheezing occurs suddenly and is accompanied by chest pain or other associated symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

• Persistent symptoms: If you have persistent problems with shortness of breath or wheezing, consult a healthcare provider to identify the underlying cause and develop a management plan.

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Home Remedies for Shortness of Breath and Wheezing

Many people sometimes have difficulty breathing, and this is called dyspnea. This may be uncomfortable and even a little painful. But if it is not too serious, you can try some home remedies to feel better. Whether you have trouble breathing occasionally or occasionally, there are some simple things you can do at home.

Here are 10 easy ways to make yourself feel better when you have trouble breathing:

1. Deep Breathing:

When you are having trouble breathing or wheezing, deep breathing can help. When you take slow, deep breaths, more oxygen gets into your body, which is important. It also strengthens your lungs and helps you relax if you are stressed. Sometimes, feeling anxious can cause problems with your breathing. Deep breathing can also open up your airways, making it easier to breathe, especially if you have a condition like asthma or COPD. Therefore, taking slow, deep breaths can give you more control over your breathing, which will make you feel better if you have difficulty breathing or are wheezing.

2. Breathing through Pursed Lips:

Pursed lip breathing can be helpful when you are dealing with shortness of breath and wheezing. This is how it works:

• Breathing slows down: When you inhale through your nose and then exhale through pursed lips, it slows down your breathing. This helps make each breath more efficient and can make it easier to get the air you need.

• Keeps airways open: Lip breathing creates slight pressure in your airways when you exhale. This back pressure can help keep your airways open. This is especially useful for people with conditions such as asthma or COPD, where the airways can narrow and make breathing difficult.

• Reduces stress: Lip breathing can also help you relax. It’s a simple technique you can do anywhere, and it can calm your body and mind. This is important because stress and anxiety can make shortness of breath and wheezing worse.

Therefore, when you use pursed lip breathing, you are not only getting more air in and out of your lungs, but you are also making your breathing more controlled and less tense. It is a helpful tool to manage these breathing difficulties.

3. Inhaling steam:

When you inhale steam, the warm, moist air can help open up your airways. It does this by loosening mucus and making it easier to breathe. This can be especially beneficial if you have a condition like asthma or bronchitis, where mucus can block your airways and make it hard to get enough air. The steam also has a soothing effect on your throat and airways, reducing the irritation that triggers wheezing. However, it is necessary to be careful and do not use very hot water to avoid burns. Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water or taking a steamy shower can provide temporary relief and make it easier to breathe when you feel congested or wheezing. But remember, while steam may help with symptoms, it is not a substitute for medical treatment if you have a serious respiratory condition. Always consult a health care professional for proper guidance.

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4. Sitting/Standing In A Comfortable & Supported Position:

Sitting or standing in a comfortable and supported position can be very helpful when you are dealing with shortness of breath and wheezing. here’s why:

When you are in a comfortable and supported position, it can make it easier for your body to breathe. If you are slouched over or lying down awkwardly, this can put pressure on your chest and make it difficult for your lungs to expand fully. But when you sit or stand up straight with good posture, it allows your lungs to work more efficiently, which means you can take in more air.

Additionally, staying in a comfortable position reduces the effort your body needs to breathe. This is important because when you feel short of breath, your body is already working hard to get enough oxygen. By sitting or standing comfortably, you can conserve energy and reduce difficulty breathing.

So, the next time you experience shortness of breath or wheezing, find a comfortable and supported position, and it may help you breathe easier and feel better.

5. Black Coffee:

If you are experiencing shortness of breath and wheezing, drinking black coffee can sometimes be helpful, especially if it is caused by asthma or other lung conditions. here’s why:

• Bronchodilation: Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural bronchodilator. This means it can help relax and open your airways. When your airways are more open, it becomes easier to breathe, reducing feelings of breathlessness and wheezing.

• Stimulant effects: Caffeine is also a stimulant, which can temporarily increase your alertness and energy levels. When you are feeling tired due to difficulty in breathing, a cup of black coffee can provide instant energy, making it easier to deal with shortness of breath.

However, it is important to note that black coffee may not be suitable for everyone, and its effectiveness may vary from person to person. Some individuals may be sensitive to caffeine or may have conditions where caffeine intake must be limited. Additionally, excessive coffee consumption can also cause other side effects such as jitteriness or increased heart rate.

6. Ginger:

Ginger can be helpful when you are dealing with shortness of breath and wheezing, especially if they are caused by respiratory problems like asthma or bronchitis. Here’s why ginger is beneficial:

• Anti-inflammatory properties: Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can help reduce irritation and inflammation in your airways. In conditions such as asthma, inflammation can narrow the airways and make breathing difficult. Ginger can help calm this inflammation, making it easier to breathe.

• Relieves Congestion: Ginger is known for its ability to loosen mucus and promote its removal from the airways. When excessive mucus builds up in your lungs or airways, it can cause wheezing and shortness of breath. Ginger can help clear this mucus, making it easier to breathe freely.

• Relaxing muscles: Ginger can also relax the muscles around your airways. When these muscles become too tight, it can cause difficulty in breathing. The muscle-relaxing properties of ginger can help open your airways and reduce the feeling of breathlessness.

You can consume ginger in a variety of ways, such as ginger tea, ginger supplements, or adding fresh ginger to your meals.

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7. Sit close to a Fan:

When you’re experiencing shortness of breath and wheezing, especially in a hot or stuffy environment, it can be helpful to sit near a fan. Here’s why it may be beneficial:

• Better Air Circulation: When you sit near a fan, it helps circulate the air around you. This can be particularly helpful in reducing feelings of breathlessness and wheezing, especially when the air is stagnant or feels heavy. Moving air can make breathing easier by providing a constant flow of fresh, oxygen-rich air.

• Cooling effect: Fans can also provide a cooling effect, which can be soothing if you feel uncomfortable due to difficulty in breathing. When your body temperature is lower, you may find it less challenging to breathe, as extreme heat can exacerbate breathing problems for some people.

• Trigger Reduction: In some cases, wheezing and shortness of breath can be triggered or worsened by allergens or irritants such as dust or pollen present in the air. A fan can help disperse these particles, reducing exposure and possible irritation.

However, it is important to make sure that the air coming from the fan is clean and does not contain allergens or pollutants that could worsen your symptoms. Additionally, fans may not be suitable for everyone, especially people with respiratory conditions such as asthma, as the moving air can sometimes cause coughing or irritation.

8. Honey

Honey can be helpful when you are dealing with shortness of breath and wheezing, especially if they are associated with a sore or irritated throat or a persistent cough. Honey has natural soothing properties that can ease discomfort in your throat and airways. It forms a protective coating, reducing irritation and promoting relief. Additionally, honey acts as a mild cough suppressant, calming your urge to cough and relaxing your airways, making it easier to breathe. In addition, honey has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in your airways. Since inflammation can narrow your airways and hinder your breathing, honey’s ability to reduce this inflammation can be quite beneficial. To use honey, you can take a teaspoon of pure, raw honey or mix it with warm water or herbal tea.

9. Practice Yoga

Yoga includes light stretching, deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, all of which can improve your lung function and ease your breathing. Deep breathing exercises in yoga, such as “pranayama,” teach you to take slow, deep breaths, which can increase the amount of oxygen you take in and make breathing easier. These exercises also help you become more aware of your breath, so you can control it better.

In addition, yoga promotes relaxation and reduces stress, which can be an important trigger for shortness of breath. Stress and anxiety can make your symptoms worse, but the calming and meditative aspects of yoga can help you manage these feelings and, in turn, improve your breathing.

10. Turmeric

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. When your airways are inflamed, they can become narrow and it can be hard to breathe. The curcumin in turmeric can help reduce this inflammation, making it easier for air to move in and out of your lungs, which may reduce shortness of breath and wheezing.

When to visit a doctor

It is important to see a doctor when you have some of the symptoms of shortness of breath. These signs include:

• Having trouble breathing frequently or for a long time.

• Hearing wheezing sound while breathing.

• Your feet and ankles are swollen.

• You have difficulty breathing when lying on your back.


Shortness of breath and wheezing can significantly affect your daily life, but there are a number of home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help ease these symptoms. Remember that although these remedies can be effective, they should not take the place of professional medical advice and treatment. Consult a healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation and guidance tailored to your specific needs.

By incorporating these home remedies and making positive lifestyle changes, you can take proactive steps toward better respiratory health and breathe easy once again.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What causes shortness of breath and wheezing at night?

Shortness of breath and wheezing at night may be caused by conditions such as asthma, allergies, GERD or sleep apnea. These symptoms often worsen during sleep due to changes in airway reactivity during sleep, exposure to allergens, acid reflux, or disruption of breathing patterns. Identifying the specific cause requires medical evaluation to determine appropriate treatment.

What causes wheezing coughing and shortness of breath?

Wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath are usually caused by blockage or inflammation in the airways. Conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergies, and respiratory infections can narrow the airways, making it difficult to breathe and causing these symptoms. Identifying the specific cause through medical evaluation is essential for appropriate treatment.

What causes shortness of breath and wheezing when walking?

People may have difficulty breathing while walking for various reasons. This can be due to things like feeling anxious, having asthma, or being overweight. Sometimes, though not very often, breathlessness can mean that a more serious health problem is going on.

How do I stop shortness of breath when walking?

When you’re running and having trouble breathing, try something called “pursed lip breathing”. Here’s how to do it: Breathe in through your nose and then exhale through your lips as if you were blowing out a candle. Make sure to exhale slowly and comfortably, not too forcefully. Try to exhale for twice as long as you inhale. This helps slow your breathing and sends more oxygen back into your body faster, making it easier for you to catch your breath.

What causes shortness of breath and wheezing during pregnancy?

Shortness of breath and wheezing during pregnancy can be caused by various factors. As pregnancy progresses, the growing uterus can put pressure on the diaphragm, limiting lung expansion and making breathing difficult. Hormonal changes can also affect lung function. Additionally, some pregnant individuals may have pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or allergies, which may worsen during pregnancy. If experiencing severe or persistent symptoms, it is important to consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and guidance.

What causes shortness of breath and wheezing after quitting smoking?

It may take a few months before your breathing improves, and some people may feel a little worse during the first month or two. This is because you’re getting the bad stuff out of your lungs, and also because quitting nicotine can make you more aware of how your body feels.

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