Asthma Management Handbook

Taking a history to investigate asthma-like symptoms in adults

Recommendations

Consider asthma in adults with (any of):

  • episodic breathlessness
  • wheezing
  • chest tightness
  • cough.
How this recommendation was developed

Consensus

Based on clinical experience and expert opinion (informed by evidence, where available).

Ask about:

  • current symptoms (both daytime and night-time)
  • pattern of symptoms (e.g. course over day, week or year)
  • precipitating or aggravating factors (e.g. exercise, viral infections, ingested substances, allergens)
  • relieving factors (e.g. medicines)
  • impact on work and lifestyle
  • home and work environment
  • smoking history (tobacco or cannabis, exposure to other people’s smoke)
  • past history of allergies including atopic dermatitis (eczema) or allergic rhinitis (‘hay fever’)
  • family history of asthma and allergies.
How this recommendation was developed

Consensus

Based on clinical experience and expert opinion (informed by evidence, where available).

When respiratory symptoms are not typical, do not rule out the possibility of asthma without doing spirometry, because symptoms of asthma vary widely from person to person.

How this recommendation was developed

Consensus

Based on clinical experience and expert opinion (informed by evidence, where available).