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Q: What are the best treatments for asthma?

Every case of asthma is different, so treatments are different as well. Your doctor will work with you to come up with the treatment plan that’s best for you. There are two main kinds of medicine that can be used to treat asthma: long-term medications that help control your asthma and prevent symptoms, and quick-relief medications you can use to control symptoms and open your airways immediately when you’re having an asthma attack.

When you first start treatment, your doctor will probably have you start a long-term medication to bring your asthma under control. These can be inhaled medications or pills you take every day, or an injection you take every few weeks. They can help reduce symptoms by relaxing the muscles in your airways and reducing swelling, and also by reducing mucus in your lungs. Over time, you might be able to reduce the amount of medication you take, or control your symptoms with quick-relief medication alone.

Medication isn't enough to control asthma. It's also important to learn what your triggers are so you can avoid the things that might cause your asthma symptoms to flare up.

Michael J. Shea , MD

Critical care medicine

Maui Memorial Medical Center
221 Mahalani Street
Wailuku, HI 96793