Asthma is the leading serious chronic illness of children. Asthma is also the third leading cause of hospitalization among children and one of the most common causes of school absenteeism. Episodes of asthma are often triggered by infection, exercise and irritants. Air pollution can worsen existing asthma. Common symptoms include coughing, audible wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing after running or crying, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Frequent respiratory infections may indicate asthma. Recurrent night cough is common, as asthma is often worse at night. Even though asthma cannot be cured, it can almost always be controlled. For more information, please contact the American Lung Association at 1- 800 LUNG USA, lungusa.org or go to WUWF.org.