The Breath of Life

Inhaled steroids now seem to be safe for children with moderate asthma. What you should know

Doctors have long been aware that daily treatment with inhaled steroids is critical to saving the lives of patients with severe asthma--both children and adults. Although the drugs cannot stop an asthma attack that has already started (different medications are needed for that), inhaled steroids are very good at counteracting the chronic inflammation that predisposes the lungs to asthma attacks in the first place. Until now, however, many physicians have hesitated to use inhaled steroids to treat milder cases of asthma in children. The drugs have side effects--most notably an apparent slowing of bone growth--that make them seem less than ideal...

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