Who's at risk?
A number of things can increase your chances of getting asthma. These include:
- having an allergy-related condition, such as eczema, a food allergy or hay fever – these are known as atopic conditions
- having a family history of asthma or atopic conditions
- having had bronchiolitis – a common childhood lung infection
- exposure to tobacco smoke as a child
- your mother smoking during pregnancy
- being born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or with a low birthweight
Some people may also be at risk of developing asthma through their job.
Asthma symptoms often occur in response to a trigger. Common triggers include:
- infections like colds and flu
- allergies – such as to pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers
- smoke, fumes and pollution
- medicines – particularly anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen and aspirin
- emotions, including stress, or laughter
- weather – such as sudden changes in temperature, cold air, wind, thunderstorms, heat and humidity
- mould or damp
Once you know your triggers, trying to avoid them may help control your asthma symptoms.
Asthma UK has more information on asthma triggers.