Signs of an Asthma Flare-up

Warning signs

You may have warning signs hours before a flare-up begins. Everyone’s warning signs are different. Check the signs that happen to you.


  • Getting out of breath easily
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Increased coughing and mucus
  • Drop in peak flow meter reading
  • Breathing faster than normal
  • A fast heart rate
  • Other

When an asthma flare-up is happening, you may have:

  • Wheezing-a whistling noise when you breathe
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • More mucus with coughing

Danger signs. Get help right away if:

  • It’s hard to talk
  • Breathing is hard and fast
  • Lips or fingernails are gray or blue
  • Nose opens wide when breathing
  • Ribs and neck muscles show when breathing
  • Heart rate is very fast
  • It’s hard to walk
  • Rescue (quick-relief) medicine is not helping
  • Peak flow reading is in the red zone (below 50% of personal best)