Millions of people struggle with asthma, and though it can’t be cured, pediatrician and allergist Stephen Apaliski provides seven principles to help control it. Start by understanding the problem: “Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that involves tightening of the muscles that surround the airways or breathing tubes in the lungs,” he writes. “Excess mucus is produced in those who have asthma, and the airways themselves become inflamed.” Understanding the disease makes it easier to manage the triggers that cause wheezing and coughing spells. His other principles include prevention (avoiding such common irritants as dust, animals and perfumes); getting pulmonary function tests; using drugs properly; planning ahead (keeping inhalers or medications on hand); building a close patient-physician relationship; and creating a positive mind-set to stick with new treatments and stay calm during an attack. Apaliski has other helpful advice, such as when to see an allergist and how to use an inhaler.