Asthma is a condition of the airways, the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. When someone with asthma is exposed to a trigger, such as dust or pollen, the airways react by becoming swollen and narrow. This can make it harder to breathe. One in every ten people in Ireland suff­er with asthma, making asthma the most common chronic (long-term) condition in Ireland.

While asthma can start at any age it often begins in childhood with half of all asthma suffers experience their first symptoms by the age of 10. It is also more likely that someone will develop asthma if they or their family members suff­er from asthma, hay fever or eczema.


For most people with asthma there are certain things that bring on symptoms and make their asthma worse. These things are known as triggers. Di­fferent people will have di­fferent triggers.

Some common triggers include:

  • Temperature changes
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Exercise
  • Food/pet allergies
  • Airway infections

Identifying triggers and working to avoid them is an important part of helping control asthma.