• Are you doing all that you can to manage your asthma? The best way to free yourself from asthma symptoms is to keep the inflammation in your airways under control. This prevents them from becoming hyper-sensitive and reactive to irritants in your environment.

  • One of the ways you can control asthma symptoms and reduce your need for medication is to avoid exposure to common asthma triggers. Asthma triggers irritate your airways and cause them to become narrow, and inflamed, which triggers symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Check out our allergy-proofing tool and see if it can help you avoid allergens (things you are allergic to).

  • Asthma medications can fall into three general categories: "relievers", "controllers" and combination medications. "Reliever" medications, sometimes referred to as "rescue" medications, help stop the symptoms of an asthma attack. They are used as needed and are most effective when used at the first sign of asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.

  • Fast-acting bronchodilators, also called short-acting bronchodilators, are reliever medications (also called rescue medications) used to relieve acute asthma symptoms (asthma attacks) and to prevent asthma symptoms caused by exercise. They act quickly, but only for short periods of time. When your asthma gets worse, your doctor may recommend that you increase the amount of rescue medication you're taking.

  • Long-lasting bronchodilators Corticosteroids Leukotriene receptor antagonists (leukotriene antagonists) Sodium cromoglycate and ketotifen Omalizumab Long-lasting bronchodilators Long-lasting bronchodilators are also called long-acting bronchodilators. These controller or maintenance medications are used regularly to prevent asthma symptoms.

  • To get the most out of your asthma medications, you must use them properly. But many asthma sufferers don't. Common problems include poor inhaler technique (not using inhaler devices properly), overusing reliever medications, and not using controller medications enough. Here's how to avoid asthma medication pitfalls: Understand what your medication is for (controller or reliever), how to use it, when to use it, what side effects to expect, and how to deal with them.

  • Monitoring your asthma symptoms will help you keep your asthma under control. You and your doctor will develop an asthma action plan that gives you personalized instructions on how to monitor your asthma and what to do if it gets worse. You may be asked to monitor: your symptoms, including how often your asthma symptoms occur, how severe they are, and whether they interrupt your sleep or daily activities.

  • To keep your asthma under control (this is the "controller" part of your treatment). If your controller treatment is working properly, you should not have any asthma attacks, your asthma should not wake you up at night, and your asthma symptoms should not limit your activities. If you're not sure whether your asthma is under control, take the Asthma Control Challenge.

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