Asthma is a lung condition that usually starts in childhood. Symptoms of asthma attack are shortness of breath, wheezing (musical sounds) or tightness in the chest, and cough. Cough at night is especially common in asthma. Treating symptoms when you first notice them is important. This will help prevent a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care. They can even be fatal.

While no one completely understands what causes asthma, it generally occurs in people who have family members with asthma or allergies; or who are exposed to viruses or lung irritants as babies. Asthma symptoms start when irritants cause the lining of the airways to become inflamed (swollen) and narrow. Swollen lining of the airways produces more mucus. The mucus clogs the airways and further blocks the flow of air. The muscles around the airways can then narrow even more. When these symptoms are severe and not easily controlled, it’s called an “asthma attack.”

How do you diagnose someone with asthma? There are special breathing or allergy tests available for older children and adults. For younger children, doctors rely on parents’ description of their child’s symptoms and how often they develop coughs and colds. There are many treatment options available and asthma can be managed well for most people. Asthma can sometimes be reversed over time. If you are concerned that you or your child may have asthma, please contact your medical provider to discussion of diagnosis and treatment options.

Main Reference is Asthma –, accessed 3/23/23

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