The number of asthma sufferers admitted to hospital last year hit a record level, with more than 200 taken in for treatment every day.
NHS statistics show the number of asthma patients needing hospital care rose more than 30% in six years, despite an estimated £1billion bill for inhalers.
Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show there were a record 1,308 deaths in England caused by asthma in 2018, the most recent year available.
An inquest into the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah from an asthma attack in 2013, last week gave air pollution as a factor.
Experts suggest increased pollution may be one reason for the rise in hospital cases, although some also blame climate change as extreme hot and cold weather causes difficulty breathing.
Last year, NHS hospitals admitted 79,503 people for asthma, a record high, with around a quarter of those admissions children.
Ella, who lived near in Catford, South East London, is the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.
In the three years before she died Ella visited hospital 27 times with breathing problems.
A monitoring station near her home found air pollution levels had “consistently” exceeded lawful EU limits.
Emma Rubach, head of health advice at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: “It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why hospital admissions have increased.
“What we do know is that access to basic care, delayed for many because of the pandemic, is vital to help people manage their condition well.
“It’s really important to know what your asthma triggers are and have an up to date plan.