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Clinical Tip: Is it an airbag or a seat belt?

Asthma medication: Is it a seat belt or airbag?

Many parents of asthma patients get confused easily about the proper role of a preventive medicine such as budesonide (Pulmicort) and the rescue medicine albuterol. I explain to them that "Pulmicort is like your seat belt: You put it on every time you get in the car in case an accident happens. It keeps you safe. Albuterol is like the airbag (but keep in mind that children should be in the back seat): The accident (wheezing) has already happened and you need extra protection."

Doug Boertje, MDMemphis, Tenn.