An asthma attack can be triggered by airborne allergens, food reactions or even burning the candle at both ends and not getting proper rest. A run down body is more susceptible to illness than a healthy rested one. It usually presents itself by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. My son would have a harsh never ending cough. No matter how much cough medicine or tea I would give him, it would not resolve the cough. Anyone with a child that suffers from asthma recognizes the cough.