If your child has asthma or allergic rhinitis (hay fever), your pediatrician may prescribe a corticosteroid, also commonly referred to as a steroid. These medicines are the best available to decrease the swelling and irritation (inflammation) that occurs with persistent asthma or allergy. They are not the same as the anabolic steroids that are used illegally by some athletes to build muscles.

In general, corticosteroids are safe and have few side effects if used correctly and as recommended by your pediatrician. Millions of children have safely taken steroids to help their noses and lungs, some for many years in a row. However, you may still have concerns about steroids. Read on about the benefits and risks of this kind of medicine.

Corticosteroid medicine can be useful in reducing inflammation in the body. It's medicine based on cortisol. Cortisol is a substance that your body makes to control many of its...

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