What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease of the airways, the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs. When you have asthma symptoms the muscles in the airways tighten and the lining of the airways swells and produces sticky mucus. These changes cause the airways to become narrow, so that there is less space for the air to flow into and out of your lungs.

Symptoms may include:

  • Coughing
  • Tight feeling in the chest
  • Wheezing – whistling noise when breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Struggling to breathe

These symptoms are often worse at night, in the early morning or during exercise.

Common Triggers

There are many different triggers for asthma, and these can be different for different people.

The most common ones are:

  • Allergy triggers, e.g. house dust mites, pollens, pets and moulds
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Viral infections, e.g. colds and flu
  • Weather, e.g. cold air, change in temperature, thunderstorms
  • Work-related triggers, e.g. wood dust, chemicals, metal salts
  • Some medicines.

Children may also

  • Not eat or drink as much 
  • Cry
  • Have tummy ache and vomiting
  • Become tired quickly
  • Get more puffed out than usual when running and playing


Asthma that is triggered by exercise may be helped by medication and/or warm up exercises.

Asthma is a treatable health condition. Although at present there is no cure, with good management, people with asthma can lead normal, active lives.

If your child has wheezing, coughing or problems breathing, it is important to talk to your doctor about whether it might be asthma.

What to do in an Asthma Emergency "4 Simple Steps Could Save a Life" Be parepared!


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