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Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma symptoms may not be the same in adults and children.

Common ones are:

  • Cough
  • A tight chest
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems breathing
  • Feeling tired
  • Problems feeding in infants
  • Problems sleeping
  • Having a hard time exercising or doing sports

Warning Signs That an Attack Is Going to Happen

There are warning signs that can happen before an attack. Knowing them can help prevent attacks or make them less severe.

In Adults:

  • Increased shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Sweating
  • An increased need to use bronchodilators

In Children:

  • A whistling or wheezing sound when breathing out
  • Frequent coughing
  • Waking up coughing at night
  • Shortness of breath while still or exercising
  • Feelings of tightness in the chest
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble feeding

Airway Narrowed Due to Mucus Plugs
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Acute asthma exacerbation in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-asthma-exacerbation-in-children. Updated August 22, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2019.

Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/asthma-exacerbation-in-adults-and-adolescents. Updated January 29, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.

Asthma in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/asthma-in-adults-and-adolescents. Updated October 11, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.

Asthma symptoms, causes and risk factors. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/asthma-symptoms-causes-risk-factors. Updated May 22, 2018. Accessed October 23, 2019.

Chronic asthma in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-asthma-in-children. Updated September 27, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.

Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) global strategy for asthma management and prevention. GINA 2018.

What are the symptoms of asthma? Asthma and Allergy Foundatoin of America website. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-symptoms.aspx. Updated September 2015. Accessed October 23, 2019.

Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 8/25/2020