Asthma is a common condition that causes coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest and breathlessness. It is a very common condition in Ireland, with 1 in 10 people affected. Most people with asthma who take the appropriate treatment can live normal lives. 


Symptoms of Asthma

The usual symptoms of asthma are:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest

These symptoms may occur in episodes, perhaps brought on by colds or chest infections, exercise, change of temperature, dust or other irritants in the air, or by an allergy e.g. pollen or animals. Episodes at night are common, often waking the patient.

Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time.

Treatment of Asthma

Many treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be individual to you, combining medicines and asthma management in a way that works best for you. The whole aim of managing asthma is to put you in control of your asthma, rather than letting asthma control you. The best way of getting control of your asthma is to work in close partnership with your doctor or asthma nurse. Together, you will be able to decide whether you are getting the best treatment for your asthma.


Living with Asthma

Everyone should have a Personal Asthma Diary Action Plan. Your doctor or nurse should complete this in discussion with you. The plan will contain the information you need to keep control of your asthma, including details about your asthma medicine, key things to tell you when your asthma symptoms are getting worse and what you should do about it and emergency information on what to do if you have an asthma attack.

The plan allows you to vary and change your medicine within agreed limits to gain better control of your asthma. Make sure you have your asthma reviewed once a year, or sooner if your symptoms are getting worse or you have more severe asthma symptoms.

It is important that you do not change your medicines without talking to your doctor or nurse first to agree on a personal asthma action plan.

A key part of keeping your asthma under control is to continue taking your preventive medicines as regularly as prescribed - even when you are feeling well - because it builds up over time to give your airways the protection they need.

Useful Links


Asthma Society of Ireland

The Asthma Society of Ireland's mission is to optimise asthma control through support, education, effecting change and research.


HSE - Asthma

Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Asthma.


Please be advised that we do not take any responsibility for the content of the websites od documents referenced on this page, or information that you may receive from them. We advise all patients to discuss their health concerns with their GP.