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Symptoms of Asthma

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Asthma

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

Common ones are:

  • Cough
  • A tight chest
  • Wheezing
  • 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

Warning signs 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
  • Problems breathing while still or exercising
  • Feelings of tightness in the chest
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feeding problems
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  • Acute asthma exacerbation in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-asthma-exacerbation-in-children. Accessed May 10, 2022.
  • Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/asthma-exacerbation-in-adults-and-adolescents. Accessed May 10, 2022.
  • Asthma in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/asthma-in-adults-and-adolescents. Accessed May 10, 2022.
  • 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. Accessed May 10, 2022.
  • Chronic asthma in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-asthma-in-children. Accessed May 10, 2022.
  • 2022 Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) global strategy for asthma management and prevention. Available at: https://ginasthma.org/gina-reports. Accessed May 10, 2022
  • What are the symptoms of asthma? Asthma and Allergy Foundatoin of America website. Available at: https://www.aafa.org/asthma-symptoms. Accessed May 10, 2022.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.