The cause of asthma is not yet determined but triggers such as allergens and irritants in the air can cause symptoms of the condition, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest pain or tightness.
Asthma symptoms that cause the lining of the airways to become inflamed and swell may also be triggered by respiratory infections, exercise or physical activity, changes in weather, and certain medications such as a sensitivity to aspirin, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Environmental irritants such as aerosol sprays, perfume, smog and paint fumes can trigger symptoms of asthma, too.
Several types of asthma can trigger symptoms in both children and adults, explains Mayo Clinic. Exercise-induced asthma worsens when the air is dry or cold whereas allergy-induced asthma flares up when pollen, pet dander or allergens are present in the air. Occupational asthma is typically triggered by workplace or environmental irritants such as dust, gases or chemical fumes.
People with asthma are commonly sensitive to irritants such as cigarette smoke, sprays and air pollution, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Foods and drinks with sulfites may also trigger coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath in asthma patients.