So what is asthma and what are the symptoms? The condition consists of inﬂammation, tightening and swelling of the airways in the respiratory system, resulting in obstruction of the ﬂow of air to and from the lungs. The symptoms of asthma include breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. Sufferers may also have a blocked nose, frequent colds and hay fever, or rhinitis. The symptoms and their severity are peculiar to the individual, and they vary from season to season and according to the individual’s susceptibility to a wide range of triggers.
An ‘asthma attack’ is the term used to describe an episode of breathing difﬁculty. In some cases, this may follow exposure to a speciﬁc trigger, such as dust, pollen, or certain foods. In other cases there appears to be no particular trigger. Some people have a cough and no wheeze, while others may have a wheeze and very little coughing, but each case is accompanied by some level of breathing difﬁculty. Symptoms may occur periodically, on a day-to-day or season-to-season basis, or they may be more or less continuous.