33 answers

Asthma & Steroids

I am seeking advice from other Mom's that have experience with young Children with Asthma. My son who was born with Asthma has been on Allergy medicine and (an Albuteral inhaler as needed) from birth, He is now 9 years old and doing great in school, very little Asthma attacks! Now that we have moved here, his allergies really hit a High and has triggered his Asthma attacks more frequently, So we are on a regumine of allergy pills and now also added Advair, (which is a steroid on a daily dose about 5 months now) But this has been working to his benefit tremendoulsy as far as his attacks go! Also to add he is reaching at a young age puberty! I am concerned and have mentioned this with his Dr. but almost regretting starting the Advair use! He is going thru stages in his tween years and at times gets so emotional/mood swings mild to moderate that I just think OK this will pass but then after realizing I have had him on steroids with the use of Advair on a daily basis, It makes sense where his mood swings are coming from! Any advice out there?

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So What Happened?™

Hello to all you Mom's!
What Great Advice out there!
I am reviewing all my concerns with his Dr. and will be continuing RESEARCH on Asthma and the many different options available. You all were very helpful and gave me many other options I was unaware of being available, again Thank You.
This is a great websight, I will be using it when needed.
God Bless You All,

Featured Answers

Hi- I am new to the site too. I just wanted to comment on the Adavair issue- I have a very athletic son with exercise-induced asthma. We had to put him on Adavair so that he could play tackle football- it was the only thing that would consistently help him breathe through the long practices with lots of running on the grass (my son has grass allergies that seem to induce the asthma along with exercise). He had good results with breathing but so many side effects! He was constipated and started missing school on a regular basis due to horrible stomach aches. The pediatrician did not attribute this to the Adavair at first but when we finally stopped the Adavair, the symptoms went away. I also was concerned with the possible side effect of hindering growth. This is not much of an answer but I am wondering what other people have found with the Adavair too. We discontinued it and won't start it again.

Singulair was that magic pill for my son who is now 7. He has had asthma since he was very young. We started him on the Singulair a little over 2 years ago. It has made a HUGE difference! He is able to use the Advair and Albuterol on and off through the cold/flu season and the spring everything is in bloom season. In fact, his usage of the Advair and Albuterol was probably cut in half.

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Hi A.,
My son is nearly 11 now and was diagnosed with Ashtma at 7 months. He has been on and off the steroid prevention puffer for many years and I do notice mood swings more often when he is using it. I haven't noticed early puberty signs but he is definitely got the pre-teen attitude and behavior. Kids grow up so fast these days. I'm not sure how to help with the mood swings especially if he needs his Advair to breathe better. I hope it stabilizes for you.

Hi A.,
Check out homeopathic healing. I suffered from hayfever for most of my life 13-42. I'm now 52 and convinced that my high estrogen level added to my severe allergies. Now that my estrogen has dropped and I use progesterone cream for balance I rarely need to take any medicine at all.
A good friend of mine's husband had suffered from severe allergies and asthma for years and was referred to a accupuncturist. They were very conservative thinkers but he gave it a try. After one treatment, the allergies stopped. He went back every year before allergy season for another treatment and was "curred" of the problems.
Has your son had a skin patch test to determine allergies?
You may have a mold issue in your home. Do you have dogs or cats? I've heard of kids with asthma clearing up after the family moved from one home to another. When I was 13 the doctor tested me and found I was highly allergic to cats (we had one) mold (we had an older home) oleander (all over the neighborhood and school) etc. In high school I had a couple of bad asthma attacks during the spring.
I would strongly encourage you to seek non-traditional treatment as all pharmacuticals can have long term side effects. Also, check with your local health food store. There are teas that help open the air ways and make beathing easier. Just remember that discontinuing steriod use needs to be gradual and monitored, I'm sure you already know that. Good luck to you.

Hi- I am new to the site too. I just wanted to comment on the Adavair issue- I have a very athletic son with exercise-induced asthma. We had to put him on Adavair so that he could play tackle football- it was the only thing that would consistently help him breathe through the long practices with lots of running on the grass (my son has grass allergies that seem to induce the asthma along with exercise). He had good results with breathing but so many side effects! He was constipated and started missing school on a regular basis due to horrible stomach aches. The pediatrician did not attribute this to the Adavair at first but when we finally stopped the Adavair, the symptoms went away. I also was concerned with the possible side effect of hindering growth. This is not much of an answer but I am wondering what other people have found with the Adavair too. We discontinued it and won't start it again.

Next time you're at the docs you might want to ask about Ma huang. It is the natural form of Ephedra. I gave my mother in law these diet pills from Herbalife. At the time they contained ma huang. She was using everything you can for asthma. Herbalife never had any claims against them but they stopped selling the product cause all the other companies using actual Ephedra were getting sued for heart problems. In conclusion it appeared that the untampered with sourse of the herb was OK & not the kind that was tampered with in the lab. I think it would be good to find out what your allergist would have to say about it asthma including steriods & a nebulizer. Usually she was hospitalized about 3-6 times/ yr, but didn't even have to use any of her meds but the basic one after using this stuff for a while. It was not expected, we just noticed the improvement after a while & she stopped using the nebulizer, prednizone etc. If the doc thinks it would be safe to try at a certain dose I would see an herbalist & make sure that you get the purest form possable. You may not even want to mess with all this that I've said but if it were my son I would thoroughly investigate the possability.

Hi A.,
I'm a mother of 3 and all 3 of my children has grown out of Asthma, talk to your child's physician about educational classes which should be free and they can help you with lifestyle changes as well. My son when he was from the age of newborn to 3 years of age he stayed in the hospital at least 3 or more times a year. I noticed after he had his adenoids taken out he didn't have any problems my other two children asthma wasn't as severe. He was the only one of the three children who took steroids. He has other medical problems as well so it's now not the asthma it's something else so get the information you need and educate him on the information so he can continue the care on his on because as he gets older he will need to take his inhaler around and will need to know when to take it.

Steroids is a broad category. The steroids you hear about abused in the sports world are different than the type your son is taking for his asthma. Make sure you are seeing a good allergist (not just a general practioner). Take to them about this concern and they can explain better. The sports issue are usually anabolic steroids. The mood swings are common for many kids his age and are more likely hormones not the inhaler.

It sounds like his asthma is at least partially due to allergies. To help build a tolerance to some of the pollen in this area you can get local honey from farmer's markets or fruit stands and give it to him daily, starting with a small amount and working up. You can put it on cereal, in tea, in peanut butter sandwiches, etc.
There are soo many things in the central valley that cause allergies. A doctor once told my grandfather that even if you weren't born with allergies if you live here for a few years you will develop them. He moved to Oregon.lol

As for the steriods...I believe they can absolutely cause mood swings. Of course I'm not a doctor. Good Luck.

you might want to check into the air quality at school. go to epa.org and you can get all kinds of info. make sure the filters are being changed frequently at school, as well as having the fan on ALL THE TIME (it's a law)!

hi... steroids is most commonly seen in the media as a performance enhancing drug... but steroids is a group of molecules... and i am no chemist but this is not like testosterone or testosterone derived medication... inhaled corticosteroids are brilliant... (i have no stock in any of the companies)... there is some systemic absorption but for the main part it works on the lung tissue to reduce re-modeling (ie scarring that occurs from chronic inflammation of the lungs!!!)... big plus for asthmatics... no medicine is benign but i have always felt advair or other inhaled steroids are SO much more benign then the results of years of poorly treated asthma.... you do not need to consider his mood swings as a side effect of this medication... best

Hi A.,

I have had moderate to severe asthma since I was a child. I'm 40. Since mid January I have been off my Advair, my albuterol and all medications--for the first time in 28 years. I found a website called Kickasthma.com which is based on the Buteyko method, I ordered the dvd, do the breathing exercises (they have easier ones for children) and I had a private session with one of the Buteyko method practitioners (Robert Litman of asthma free arizona). In addition I have been seeing a homeopath and getting Chinese 5 Element Accupuncture. Between those three things something (or likely all of it) is working. I am hiking (up huge hills with a 25 lb. baby on my back) and swimming and having sex and working out all with out meds. This is revolutionary for me. i couldn't do any of that before. Before the advair I was using my albuterol 4-6 times per day (not recommended)--my asthma was totally out of control. And on the Advair I was getting lung infections every month or less like clockwork. I highly encourage you to explore Kickasthma.com or thebreathablebody.com. Just switching from mouth breathing to nose breathing alone has made a world of difference.


My oldest son, 19.5 got asthma as soon as we moved hear from so. cal. The lifesaver for us was singulair. It worked like a charm- And as for the mood swings, just get ready cause here they come! 9 is right about the time the mood swings started with my son, and they gradually worsened. He is 19.5 now and has tappered off on the mood swings.(he still has tantrums, just less often!) I have a 7 year old who has asthma as well. We use the nebulizer alot! but hers is reactive to illness not allergies. Speak with your doc about a change. There are many, many options out there, not just the ones the on tv!

Dear A.:

I manage a medical spa in Redding, CA. My husband and I also own an organic farm where I produce a line of therapeutic essential oil products. One of my products (my Lemon-Peppermint oil) is an excellent inhalant for asthmatics. Several of my clients report that it works more quickly and with longer-lasting effects than their inhalers. One simply puts a small amount on a cotton ball and sniffs for a minute or so. The symptoms of the attack often subside within that treatment time. Since one is not ingesting anything and the products are 100% natural, there are no problems with repeating the treatment whenever necessary. For easing troubled breathing at night this oil works well in a diffuser (several are available that plug into electrical outlets and have a pressed cotton pad onto which you drop the oil for general diffusing. Please let me know if you are interested in the product and I can email you with more information or even send you a sample to try. I'm still setting up my website, but you can read a bit more about our farm and my products at www.mccluckfarms.com.

Best wishes,

V. Taylor

I have to agree with the mother who posted the remaks regarding singular, my children and my self take this medication. It helps keep our allergies under control as well as the asthma. Living in the valley you will always have some sort of allergies but if you get them under control the asthama will not be as bad, as far as the mood swings. Get ready they last until they are about 12 and then the rest of the mood swings and tween wonders will kick in. The Advair wont affect his mood, as much as I love my son, mood swings are just as bad for boys as they are for girls. It will get better..........Good luck

Go a completely different route and try an acupuncturist named Scott Sommer. Located in Orangevale at Madison and Main, he is a very caring healer who started out at UC Davis medical school and decided that Western medicine was lacking. He is very good at treating allergies with Chinese herbs and has saved infants and folks of all age of many allergies and ailments. ###-###-####. He has been the only one to find and treat a very serious thyroid problem. I would constantly get tested in the past for diabetes and thyroid problems only to be told nothing was wrong. Chinese medicine has a more narrow scope and he found my problem and for the first time in 30 years, I feel great and am slowly finding my optimum weight and health. He does have a reputation for treating allergies successfully and holistically. Give it a shot - it's worth it. He has free clinics every Thursday night at 7:00. Each Thursday he covers a different subject but afterwards he does complimentary testing to give you a preliminary diagnosis. I know he is a resident of Elk Grove but his office is off Hazel Ave (hwy 50) continue north after turning left off Hazel exit. Go several miles until you hit Madison. Turn right (east. Then a few more blocks you are at Main. It's called The Natural Life Center and it's on your left hand side so you have to make a U-turn at Main and then pull into the driveway in that small medical complex. Good luck.

If you want to cut back on using the inhaler and he has allergies, you may want to consider allergy shot therapy. This has made a world of difference for my son. A year and a half ago when he was 11, my son could not walk the 6 blocks home from school during allergy season without needing a rescue inhaler daily. Once he'd had shot therapy for a year, he's only needed a rescue inhaler a couple of times...when he got a virus or sinus infection due to skipping his zyrtec.

Another year has gone by and I cannot remember the last time we picked up an Rx for an inhaler and sinus infections are down to zero unless he forgets to take the zyrtec or xylal. Allergy shot therapy is a major commitment and my son was not fond of the idea of having shots weekly, but now he thanks me for making him do it. I am now being treated as well and notice a difference...less congestion and wheezeiness from our dog and less itchy eye and sneezing from the pollen allergies.

I think your question is "does Advair cause early puberty or mood swings? I reviewed the entire package insert and found no mention to promoting early onset of puberty nor mood swings. You have given your son a widely used asthma medication which contains an inhaled corticosteroid, fluticasone proprionate. This is not an anabolic steroid. It is extremely safe and is inhaled into the lungs to reduce the inflammation. Asthma is a very serious disease and when left untreated can cause death and permanent lung function damage. Do not regret giving your child a very effective and widely used asthma medication. Advair is approved by the fda for children down to age 4.
Northern California has the highest pollen counts in the nation. The grasses are expected to be bad these coming months because of all the rain we have seen. Do not discontinue Advair because of your fear. See your doctor to get further reinforcement.
A gauge to determine how controlled your son's asthma is is if he is using his rescue albuterol more than 2 times in a week or if he is waking up to asthma symptoms more than 2 times in a month or if he is refilling his albuterol more than 2 times in a year. If he is than he needs more control, i.e. higher dose. If he has not for example used his albuterol in the past month or two while he is taking advair ask your doctor if your son can titrate to a lower dose.
Please talk to your doctor if you have regrets giving your son Advair. You should not at all and just need more information. I have seen and heard from people who took Advair and the incredible impact it had on their quality of life. They say if you want to know what it is like to be an asthmatic just breath through a straw for a couple of minutes. We take it for granted.
Good luck to you and your son.

Has the doctor said the steroids act like the steroids body builders use? My son is 2 and is on both the Albuteral inhaler and Qvar which I believe is similar to Advair. I was also concerned out the word steroid. The doctor assured me this does not affect his mood swings and will not cause his lungs to be weak on their own. I would assume the mood swings are due to him becoming a teenager. I would definitely talk to your doctor or get second opinions about your mood swing concerns.

Hi A.,

I am a mom to 5 daughters. Out of them, only 1 of them has asthma thankfully! The one that does, has had it since birth. She ended up in the hospital at 3 weeks old for 5 days...that's when we 'found' it. She spent many days in the hospital for the next 10 years.

She was on daily breathing treatments for years with a nebulizer, sometimes that wasn't enough, that's why she ended up in the hospital...she now used 3 different medications every day. When she was about 10, the Dr. said she was old enough to take inhalers without worry. Meaning, that she could 'puff' the correct amount in without a problem. She is 16 now. She takes two preventives; a pill, Singular, and an inhaler, QVar (twice a day)....her life literally changed with these two preventives. She carries an Albuteral inhaler, but she rarely uses it.

I too have asthma, but mine is seasonal. I only take Qvar from March until July....and carry an Albuteral inhaler, but rarely if ever use it all season.

I am thinking your son needs a change in medications? I would consult your Doctor. Since my daughter started using the Singular and Qvar together all those years ago, she seriously has not had an asthma attack since. When she used to get the slightest cold, she'd end up in the emergency room...but now, we know how to manage it with an extra 'puff' of Qvar....she swims all summer, runs and plays tennis without any sings of being an asthmatic. She has learned to live with it and knows when her body is telling her it needs another 'puff' before she ends up in an attack. She has not outgrown her asthma...if she runs out of Singular, she can feel the difference within 2 days. I now have to make sure I set 10 pill aside because she forgets to tell me that she needs more until she's out! I can tell when she's out and has forgotten to tell me because you can see it coming on....you get to know your kids and the sings of when they are sick. She has only done this twice, but even at her age, I worry...I've seen how sick she can get....I've seen her turn blue...so I do worry.

My friend uses Singular for allergies/asthma and swears it's changed her adult life.

I wish you and your son the best trying to find the right combination of medications to get him through every season without another asthma attack. He can live with it but not show any signs of it. I hope that day is SOON!

A., I share your concerns @ the Asthma meds, but a maintanace inhaler or pill is a must for Asthma. It's a real condition & can't be managed by just using a "rescue" inhaler (in time this proves to be not a good idea). If you can determine the allergens or tiggers, it might reduce his reactions.
I've Asthma, & my children do as well. Mostly it is caused by animals, pollens, chemicals & this CA environment. My daughter uses Advair, & a rescue inhaler. I use Flovent & a rescue inhaler, & other specific meds to handle my allergic reactions. When my daughter was 3, I used a liquid (Alupent, I think). I didn't like the effects on the behavior (hyper), but it helped her breathe better on a daily basis.
I'd do research, but trust your doctor. My pedi (San Jose) is an allergist too. I think the American Lung Assoc offers classes for kids & families w/ Asthma. My daughter took classes @ her school (during school). Good Luck. J

As a swim coach, I'm biased, but I've worked with a lot of kids with asthma and swimming as exercise really helps with the asthma after the initial getting used to something new and getting the meds right period. Exercise helps to improve lung function and a well-trained swim coach knows how to spot a struggler and help prevent the attack before it starts with breathing techniques, etc. The exercise will also help with his mood swings--- all those positive endorphins! The thing about swimming is that the air over the water is warmer and moister than air elsewhere and it helps to lubricate an asthmatic's lungs, making breathing easier. Swimming also teaches breathing skills, something an asthmatic really needs to know and understand-- part of asthma attacks are caused by dead air in the lungs and when they feel an attack coming, if they learn to exhale deeper than normal and expel that dead air, they can prevent the attack.

My youngest child has had asthma since he was 4 months old.
He has been on and off steriods as needed. He now uses a nasal spray instead along with the alergy meds. He has not
developed early because of it. But I do find that he can be a lot moodier when he is taking steriods. He also went thru a rough patch when he was 9-10 years old with girls at school. He liked several that did not return the
feelings. He is now 13, and in 8th grade, and is just now starting to develop. I hope this helps you in some way.

Hi A.,

I understand your concern with steroids and their side effects. My daughter also has asthma and has had more than her fair share of albuterol, prednisone, advair, singulair, etc.

Several years ago, another RN told me about mangosteen juice. I was very doubtful but decided to give it a try since her meds had so many side effects. within 3 days of drinking one to two oz a day, my then 14 year old was no longer using her albuterol inhaler at all. and she had been using it every day with dance team practice (exercise induced asthma). i could not believe it. she has been drinking the juice ever since and no longer uses any medications. :) if you want, you can read about other people who have had similar experiences at


hope you find something to help your son. if you want to try the juice you can order a bottle at www.xango.com. (my ID # 162769896) it's not cheap but it's worth it. and if you like it, you can sign up to buy it wholesale which will be less expensive.

there are other brands out there too. you can find one at costco (cheaper but does not work as well) and also at whole foods.

good luck to you and your son,

G. M. RN

Dear A.,

I can only imagine the fears you must face every day and the worry you have about giving your child so much medication. My husband has a distributorship from company called Reliv, which makes phenominal nutritional products. Some friends of our have put their children on the products and gotten tremendous results eleviating their asthma. We take the shakes ourselves - I've gotten relief from 7 years of chronc, debilitating migraines and my husband from anxiety and allergies, neither of which were ever helped with traditional or alternative medicine. Reliv does not claim to cure anything. That is important to understand. It is the best nutrition anyone can put in their body, and when fed correctly, the body is the miracle. Please contact me if you would like me to put you in touch with the friends i have mentioned. We would love to be able to help you and your child. The company is 20 years old, traded on the NYSE and featured in Forbes, Newsweek, Business fom Home and many other periodicals. The products are 100% guaranteed for 30 days and are suitable for any age individual.


E. Wilson-Koops

Greetings A.,
i too went through the same ordeal. My son is 13yrs going to be 14yrs in two weeks. It has been a ride for us here at home, born with Asthma and growing up using a nebulizer & inhalers. Two years ago, we moved to Sacramento, from the bay area and his Asthma/allergies triggered. We continued his medications and decided to put him in outside sports. It broke my heart with the heat down here during the summers however, his Asthma subsided and his lungs became immune to the rigorous regimine of football conditioning. my advice is to try some outdoor activities of his liking. He will need some outlet due to his hormones changing. hope this helps. D.

I have had allergies all my life, and been through shots, every type of med there is, etc. Fortunately, I have not had asthma. I am generally against med's, esp. steroids, but recognize their usefulness for allergies and asthma - on a limited basis. The one thing I do know about steroids is that they absolutely can alter the hormone levels in a person's body, to the point of being dangerous. A relative of mine was on them when he was a pre-teen and became suicidal. Please check with your doctor (or get a 2nd opinion) about what alternatives you have for your son. There are many options these days. Even acupuncture has been known to work wonders. No kidding!

My 16 year old takes Advair for about 6 months of the year (during peak allergy season), along with Singulair. We haven't noticed any side effects. My understanding is that the steroids in Advair are not equivalent to what body builders use. On the other hand, my 10 year old son just finished a course of Prednisone that he had to take after a severe asthma attack, and oh my gosh! He's SOOOOO cranky! I actually thought about keeping him home from school today because he was in such a bad mood. I think you should definitely talk to your son's doctor about your concerns. Good Luck!

hi A.- I had to use Advair myself for a couple of yrs due to bad asthma and would highly recommend switching inhalers. I think I may have some long term health issues assoc to use. I am now on Qvar and like it much better. I have a son who will turn 9 next week - and I thank God often he has not inherited my asthma altho he was on steriods for awhile as a baby-- and just thought I would try to help. I found out that advair is not recommended for use longer than 6 mos and Dr at UCSF never mentioned that!! Have you tried allergy shots. i did them as a kid and they did help. Claritin helps my son alot. My son and I see Dr Helen Thomas at Thomas Chiropractic in Santa Rosa ###-###-####) for NAET allergy treatments and that has helped us both immensely. Best of luck.
take care,

My seven year old daughter has allergy induced asthma what has worked for her is Zytrec (oral once a day), Flonase (nasal two sprays each nostral once a day), Flovent (inhaled once a day) and Albuteral as needed (maybe once a week). Thankfully we haven't had an er visit or major astma episode in over two years. The only side effect that we have seen is some pretty nasty body odor (which using reagular deoterent works fine for) while she is on all the meds. Maybe you should talk to your sons dr about using different meds as opposed to the steriods? Good luck

I have a 7 yr old son who has had asthma since he was a baby as well. He had RSV which weakened his lungs and led to asthma. His asthma seems triggered by allergies and from your post, it seems that maybe your son's is as well. Once his pediatrician and I got his allergies under control, the asthma only needed to be treated with an albuterol inhaler very infrequently. He is taking Singulair on a daily basis as an asthma/allergy controller. Occasionally he uses a prescription nasal spray as well. Maybe you can talk to his doc about different types of allergy meds he can try. Good luck!

Singulair was that magic pill for my son who is now 7. He has had asthma since he was very young. We started him on the Singulair a little over 2 years ago. It has made a HUGE difference! He is able to use the Advair and Albuterol on and off through the cold/flu season and the spring everything is in bloom season. In fact, his usage of the Advair and Albuterol was probably cut in half.


My 8 year old son was diagnosed wiht Asthmas at 6 months old and had a very tough 1st year. He is on steroid inhalers and nebulizers but has few attacks now at his age. He has been on allergy medicine for a while too and I had finally asked his Dr. about Allergy Shots, since my husband and I take them as well, and my son will be going for testing next week. He may not be that thrilled about getting a shot once a week but I know he doesn't want any more hospital stays. As for the steroids I was told by his Dr. that if he was on the steroid prelone (sp?) more than 4x a years his file would be tagged and he would be monitored but he has not had any problems as of yet. Sorry so long and probably not all that helpful.....


Hi A.,
All three of our children including my husband and I suffer from allergies. Since we moved to East Contra Costa County, I can add allergy induce asthma to my list. Two of our children suffer from cold induced asthma and usually get the asthma symptoms just prior to the cold. My son uses Singular,with great results. We tried Advair but it gives both my son and me the cotton ball feeling stuck in our throat. We also supplement with homeopathic remedies, which normally can be taken with other medications and actually help promote healing in the body,these we also use with great results. If you choose that route, as always, check with your doctor first. Hope this is helpful!

It seems like so many are going through the same situation. My daughter started with allergies and asthma as a baby as well. We had her on liquid steroids 2 times a day, albuterol in her nebulizer every 4 hours around the clock, the Advair, etc.
It was crazy. This went on for years. And got to the point that we even had a house built in Florida and were planning on moving there because she could breathe so much better in that climate than here.
While we were waiting for the house to be built, we put her on a protocol from a relief program for medically fragile children. To our surprise and great excitement she started breathing better and not needing the medication and enjoying life.
We ended up not moving since she was the only reason for doing so.
She has been completely medication free now for 3 years. She is strong and healthy. I just couldn't ask for more.

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