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The symptoms of asthma can be different from person to person. Some people have very infrequent asthma attacks or have symptoms only during exercise or at other certain times. Other people may have symptoms all the time and have very frequent asthma attacks.

The most common symptoms of asthma are:

  • Shortness of breath: this can feel like you can’t catch your breath or like you cannot get the air out of your lungs
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing: when caused by asthma it is usually worse at night or early in the morning

Asthma can become more severe over time. Signs that your asthma is getting worse are:

  • Asthma symptoms that occur more often and are more bothersome
  • Increased difficulty breathing
  • Using your fast-acting (rescue) inhaler more often

Some people have asthma that is made worse by certain situations or substances, such as:

  • Exercise: exercise-induced asthma may get worse in cold and dry air
  • Allergens: common allergens include dust, animal fur, mold, and pollen
  • Irritants: cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals or dust
  • Medicines: aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Illness: viral upper respiratory infections (colds)