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Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways. If a person has asthma, the bronchi will be inflamed and more sensitive than normal. If a person comes in contact with something that irritates their lungs, the airways will narrow, the muscles around them tighten and the production of mucus will increase. This will make it difficult to breathe, will cause wheezing and coughing and make a person’s chest feel tight. When these symptoms are really bad it is called an asthma attack or an 'acute asthma exacerbation'. Asthma attacks may require hospital treatment and can sometimes be life-threatening.

For further information about adult asthma, visit the ELF website.

Active smoking and asthma

Active and passive smoking and asthma exacerbations