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‚ÄčLearn the triggers and symptoms of asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways. The severity and duration of each flare up of symptoms can vary for each person. Allergic or non-allergic triggers may cause symptoms. Management of asthma is most successful when education, environmental control and medication are all considered. Asthma reactions may occur daily, weekly and/or seasonally.

Symptoms of asthma vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:

  • difficulty in breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • chest tightness
  • turning very pale

What causes asthma?

The exact cause of asthma is unclear, but there are certain factors that seem to increase the risk of developing asthma. These factors include:

  • hereditary or genetic factors
  • chest infections early in life
  • exposure early in life, to house dust, animals (especially cats) and cigarette smoke

What are the common triggers of asthma?

There are two particular groups of asthma triggers. Some cause inflammation in the airways or make existing inflammation worse. Other triggers cause narrowing or constrictions due to the muscles around the airways tightening or spasming. Some examples of triggers include:

  • Colds/viruses or other respiratory infections
  • Dust/dust mites
  • Moulds
  • Emotions/stress/excitement
  • Smoke
  • Animals
  • Exercise
  • Pollens

Important to note

It is very important for students with asthma that:

  • Medical Alert Planning forms and Request for Medication forms have been completed by the parents and doctor and returned to the school (visit the Medical Conditions at School page for more information).
  • Medication (puffers, oral medication) is labelled for the student.
  • Medication should be accessible to the student at all times.
  • School personnel as well as the student have had education about asthma, and avoidance of the triggers for the student and are trained in recognizing and treating asthma.
  • Student wears MedicAlert identification at all times.

Other resources


As a step towards reconciliation, Interior Health acknowledges the land that we live, work, and play on as the traditional territories of the Dakelh Dene, Ktunaxa, Nlaka’pamux, Secwepemc, St’at’imc, Syilx and Tsilhqot’in peoples. It is with humility that we continue to strengthen our relationships with the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit peoples of the interior.
MoH     PCQO