Do you tend to have a dry cough at the end of a deep breath?
There are lots of ways to keep from getting asthma attacks, but if you actually have one inhalers are pretty much the best option. IT seems that even the more crunchy sites I've found say that you need an inhaler durring an attack.
My dd has asthma, been diagnosed for almost a year, but she has been able to be off all meds for the last 6 months for the most part. 1x she got a cold and was back on the inhaler for a week, but other than that she has been med free. We just watch her for any signs of breathing problems, keep her inside durring windy, high ozone days. Keep her away from any kind of smoke(even the grill) ect.
For her it seems that being more proactive with her breathing health has made more of a difference than being on meds.