Did you know there are 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK according to Asthma UK? If you have just been diagnosed with asthma, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do next.

One important first step is to understand the symptoms you may experience and how to manage them. Here are Healthlines’ most common symptoms.

Asthma Symptoms:


A persistent cough is a common symptom of asthma. It may be dry or contain mucus and it could get worse at night, or after you’ve been exercising.


Wheezing is one of the symptoms most people associate with asthma. It is a whistling sound that happens when you exhale because air is being forced through narrow, constricted air passages.

Difficulty Breathing:

If your airways become inflamed and constricted, this can cause breathing to become difficult. This can also make you feel anxious, which in itself can make breathing more difficult.

Chest tightness:

As the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, your chest may tighten. This can feel like someone is tightening a rope around your upper torso.


During an asthma attack, less oxygen gets to your lungs, blood and muscles. Because of this, fatigue can set in. If your asthma symptoms are worse at night and you have trouble sleeping, you could feel tired during the day.

Nasal flaring:

This is the enlargement and stretching of the nostrils during breathing. It is often a sign that you’re having trouble breathing. This symptom of asthma is more common in younger children and infants.


Anxiety can both be a trigger of an asthma attack, or a symptom. As your airways start to narrow, your chest tightens and breathing becomes difficult, which generates anxiety. Being in a stressful situation can also be something that triggers asthma symptoms.

Rapid breathing:

If you find you’re taking a breath every two seconds while at rest, it’s best to get medical attention. This is also advised if you notice your child is breathing more rapidly than normal.


More common in children than adults, retractions occur when the skin and muscles at the base of the throat retract or sink in with each breath. This is a sign that someone if having difficulty breathing and is often caused by asthma.

Signs of an asthma attack:

Not everyone who has asthma will experience an asthma attack. But, it’s best to be prepared and know the early signs. They include:

  • Sever coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Itchiness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability

Severe Symptoms of an asthma attack:

Severe asthma attacks can be life threatening. Here is Healthline’s advice so you know what to do.

Don’t hesitate to call 999 for an ambulance if a reliever inhaler fails to work after 10 to 15 minutes, or if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Discoloured (blue or grey) lips, face, or nails
  • Extreme difficulty breathing, in which the neck and chest may be “sucked in” with each breath
  • Difficulty talking or walking
  • Mental confusion
  • Extreme anxiety caused by breathing difficulty
  • Fever of 100?F (32.7?C) or higher
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid pulse

For more information about asthma, download our asthma support pack today.

Come into store and talk to one of our pharmacists who can talk to you about the best way to manage your asthma.
Find your local Lloyds Pharmacy here.


Find our more about asthma treatments and advice.