Controlling the need for emergency room visits and other costs for asthma patients is one element of the city of Houston's plan to reduce health costs. [...] the city will pay the full amount for some asthma medications, so the price of a co-pay won't prevent people from taking the drugs they need. First treatment: If you've avoided triggers and cleaned your living and work space and you still have symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, the first line of treatment is using a rescue inhaler, also called a short-acting bronchodilator. If you're relying heavily on your rescue inhaler, Patni said, a controller medication such as an inhaled steroid, is in order. Being overweight is an independent risk factor, so losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is important for asthma patients. Patni said that though exercise may improve your lung function and help you do more, exercise itself does not play a role in controlling asthma.