Respiratory Therapist/wheezing


QUESTION: Is it possible for wheezing in the throat to be mistaken for wheezing from the lungs?  I have a sinus infection with lots of post nasal drip and a nasty cough.  The doctor said that I have significant wheezing in the chest. It really feels as if the wheezing is from the post nasal drip in my throat and not in my lungs.  Is it possible that the doctor is mistaken?

ANSWER: Hi Roxy,

I am so sorry for the delay in answering your question, my email box has taken on a mind of its own and has been converting certain messages to Spam that it shouldn't be, which I then don't always check right away.  

First off, upper airway wheezing very OFTEN gets mistaken for true lung wheezing! Be sure to drink LOTS of clean water to make sure the body is hydrated, and in the past when I had bad bronchitis my physician gave me a short bout of steroids (Medrol pack) and within a couple days I was all cleared up! It was the inflammation in my throat from constant coaching and throat-clearing that caused the swelling that was causing the "wheezing" sound in my throat.



Larry W, BA-RRT

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for the response. The doctor I saw today is a pulmonologist. My airways have been reactive to upper respiratory infections for years.  The pulmonologist appeared concerned that he heard so much wheezing. I am now on a short burst of prednisone. Despite what the pulmonologist said, I feel as if the post nasal drip is causing the wheezing sound. Could a pulmonologist get the two mixed up?

Hi Roxy,

What the doctor ordered for you is exactly what I would have ordered...the oral steroid. So that will help you. The post-nasal drip by itself won't cause ANY sound alone, it is the constant coughing and throat-clearning that causes inflammation in the throat that causes the wheezing sounds. As a lung doctor is much more medically qualified than I, I am in no place to say the Pulmonologist is wrong about anything, I can just tell you what I know.  :-)  

Respiratory Therapist

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators ("Respirators") - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

Past/Present Clients
Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]