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Finding out that your child has asthma can be tough. And in the early days, sorting out the right medication——and how and when to take it——can be tougher still.

The good news is that the more you know about asthma, the better your chance of stopping the coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath that led to the diagnosis in the first place. There is no cure for asthma, but the condition can be managed successfully by taking medication and identifying (and avoiding) asthma triggers.

The tricky part is that as time goes on, people with asthma can start to feel perfectly healthy, due to the medication. It can be hard to remember that even though the asthma symptoms are gone, the disease is still there. It can be dangerous to stop or cut back on medication in the belief that asthma has disappeared. This can leave your child vulnerable to serious breathing trouble or hospitalization the next time he or she encounters an asthma trigger. (Some children may eventually “outgrow” asthma, but only a doctor can say for sure if its safe to taper off medication.)

Your doctor can help you set up an asthma plan for your child, but the balls in your court to stick with it. Following this plan will help minimize your child's symptoms and allow him or her to be as active as possible.