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Asthma symptoms range from minor to severe, and vary from person to person. Some people have occasional episodes and feel normal with no trouble breathing most of the time. Others may have symptoms all the time or have symptoms primarily at night or only during exercise.

Asthma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing
picture of woman breathing deeply

Signs that your asthma may be getting worse include:

  • An increase in the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms
  • A fall in peak flow rates as measured by a peak flow meter, a simple device used to check how well your lungs are working
  • An increased need to use bronchodilators — medications that open up airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles

Learn how to recognize emergency symptoms so you'll know when to get help.


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