Asthma is a common condition in the UK. It affects the small airways, which carry air in and out of your lungs and around one in every five British households includes an asthma sufferer.

People who have asthma don’t suffer from the symptoms of coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath all the time, just when they have an asthma attack.

Asthma attacks can be triggered by lots of different things including:

  • animal hair.
  • pollen.
  • being ill with a cold or virus.
  • dust.
  • smoking.
  • vigorous exercise.
  • certain medicines and food.

If you are an asthma sufferer your doctor / GP should be able to help you pinpoint some of your triggers so that you can try and avoid them.

It’s not always easy to avoid asthma triggers and it’s not always clear what sets off an attack. The best thing to do is to make sure you are as prepared as possible, by getting the correct medicines from your doctor and making sure you know when and how to take them.

You might also find that you come to recognise the symptoms of an asthma attack and get to know when one is about to happen.

Warning signs can include:

  • an itchy nose and skin.
  • dizziness.
  • a tickly cough.

If you get to know these signals it will be much easier for you to deal with an attack when it comes.

The most important point to remember is that if your inhaler doesn’t help your symptoms and they carry on getting worse then you should get help straight away.

You shouldn’t feel bad for calling for help, even if you have an attack in the middle of the night. It is important that you look after yourself and medical staff are there to help.

If you have asthma you might have noticed that some other members of your family have allergies too. This is because asthma tends to run in families, so you are more likely to come from a family where relations have things like hay fever and eczema if you have asthma.

There are lots of other factors that determine whether or not a person has asthma though and it is not easy to predict. Check out the video below for more information


Who can help?

Asthma UK has lots of useful information and advice about asthma and how to deal with it. You can visit their website at

The BBC website has information about the symptoms, triggers and causes of asthma at

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