Acute asthma episodes (also called an attack, flare-up, or exacerbation) are sudden bouts of:

Rapid, shallow, and difficult breathing.

Feeling that you cannot take a deep breath (chest tightness).

Children with chest tightness may complain of a stomachache.

Whistling noises when breathing (wheezing).


Symptoms may be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how much the airflow to the lungs is reduced. Episodes can be brief (about an hour) or last for several days.