Early Warning Signs of Asthma

Lung function

Early warning signs of asthma are the physical and emotional changes that happen before the child begins to experience breathing difficulties. These are the earliest signs of asthma and occur before you can hear the child wheezing or coughing. Early warning signs are not the same for everyone, and even the same person may not always show the same signs. Remember that these signs do not always mean that an episode will happen, but suggest the possibility of an episode. The early warning signs of asthma are not uncommon and could be signs of other illnesses, or even mood changes.

By learning about early warning signs, children with asthma and their families learn to be aware of how the body feels and what messages the body gives. Recognizing and acting on early warning signs of asthma are important parts of asthma control. Whenever you think that an asthma episode may be happening soon, slow down activity. These actions may help to avoid or lessen the episode. If breathing difficulties follow, take medication as directed for episodes. Early treatment is always the most helpful. Waiting for an episode to become full-blown usually means that it will take more time and treatment to get relief.

Early Warning Signs


  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in chest
  • Pain in chest
  • Less able to exercise
  • Tired
  • Itchy throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Dry mouth
  • Clammy skin
  • Pale
  • Fast Heartbeat
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Dark circles around eyes


  • Gets upset easily
  • Feels sad
  • Wants to be alone
  • Feels nervous
  • Gets excited easily
  • Feels restless