Wheeze is a high pitched, whistling sound that occurs when you breathe. It is a very common symptom, especially in young children and infants and is often mistaken for a rattle. It usually occurs when breathing out, when the airways are narrowed. The sound is generated from the air moving through the narrowed airways.
There are many causes of wheezing. In young children under five, the commonest cause is viral infections.
Other common causes include asthma and reflux. Less commonly wheeze may be due to an inhaled foreign object, bronchitis, narrowing of the airways from birth, cystic fibrosis and heart problems.
The treatment depends on the cause. Most pre-school children who wheeze will outgrow their symptoms by the time they are six. During this time, asthma treatment may be necessary to control symptoms if no other cause is found. Speak to your doctor about the cause of your child's wheeze and the best treatment.