There are two main kinds of inhalers: short-acting inhalers and long-acting inhalers. Most kinds of inhalers are used for those suffering with lung conditions such as asthma or bronchitis, and they can include a long-acting preventative medication, such as prednisone, or a short-acting rescue medication, according to WebMD.
The two kinds of inhalers, short-acting inhalers and long-acting inhalers, work differently in the body. Short-acting inhalers, which are known as rescue inhalers, can be used to quickly open up a person's airways. This works by relaxing the muscles that tighten up the airways, according to WebMD.
A long-acting inhaler, which may be a combined steroid and bronchodilator or a steroid only, is used to prevent asthma attacks and swelling in a person's airways, WebMD reports. This type of treatment is most commonly used to reduce the body's reaction to allergens, exercise or other triggers in patients with ongoing asthmatic conditions.
Patients who use their rescue inhalers more than two times weekly may not have their asthma under control, and that is when a long-acting inhaler is used to reduce the body's risk of an attack. WebMD states that long-acting inhalers can make the body less reactive to asthma triggers, which can put a person's life at risk during an attack.