Last updated: Aug 01, 2009

You may think you know all there is to know about preventing asthma attacks. Just take a hit on a bronchodilator inhaler, right? Wrong. Bronchodilators, which are found in rescue inhalers, can halt an asthma attack once you start having symptoms, but there are better ways to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Preventing asthma attacks—the sudden onset of wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath due to exposure to dust, pet dander, cold air, pollution, exhaust, or secondhand smoke—takes a comprehensive long-term strategy.

While there is no cure for asthma, asthma attacks can be prevented or reduced by taking medication daily (usually called controller or maintenance medications), avoiding asthma triggers, and modifying ones environment (such as minimizing dust and other allergens).