Prevention is always the best form of treatment. It is important for an asthmatic to learn what conditions prompt an attack and avoid them whenever possible. When avoidance is impossible, preventive treatment is desirable. Various forms of preventive therapy are available. Medications may be started prior to exercise or exposure to environments that predictably produce an attack. If the asthma attacks are frequent or unpredictable, your allergist may advise you to take medications on a routine basis. Drugs used for this purpose include long-acting theophyllines, inhaled or oral beta agonists, cromolyn and inhaled or oral steroids. For allergic asthmatics, immunotherapy (allergy shots) may offer relief from allergens that cannot be avoided. Immunotherapy increases a patient’s tolerance to the allergens that prompt asthma symptoms.
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