i feel your pain. :) my son just turned 3 and was diagnosed with asthma over the winter. he also coughs when having an attack and has vomited on me several times from it! he's been on Pulmicort once a day (2x if he's got a cold), which is a steroid inhaled using a nebulizer. he also uses albuterol for when he has an asthma attack. actually, i have to take him in today to start allergy testing to see if he also has allergy induced asthma. i'm positive he does, just need to find out what it is. anyhow, it's very stressful! i'm assuming the orapred your child uses is in inhaler form? my son also has inhalers we use when we can't use the nebulizer (like in the car, or to carry with me instead of the whole nebulizer machine all the time!)
he has a Flovent HFA inhaler, which is the steroid. the way it was explained to me is that the steroids that are inhaled go directly into their lungs, so they don't go into the bloodstream like giving them a round of prescription oral steriods like prednisolone. the oral steroids do affect my sons appetite and behavior considerably, but he needs to breath so obviously it's something we just have to deal with. the inhaled steroids shouldn't affect his behavior and appetite because they aren't going directly into the bloodstream. i asked that question several times before my son started on it, because the thought of giving a 3yo steriods every day kind of freaked me out! so, your child might just be going through a growth spurt or something. or because he was awake decided he wanted to eat. :)my DS had an Orapred inhaler they gave him once in the ER, it just didn't seem to work that well for him, i would just carry it in my purse for an emergency. my DS just got done with his last round of prednisolone yesterday after another bad attack that wasn't going away. (probably due to an allergy)
anyhow, if your child isn't using a nebulizer, i would ask his doc about it. i find that using the nebulizer with the Pulmicort (1x a day steroid to prevent attacks) and albuterol (for treating an attack) works a ton better than just the inhalers. inhalers are much more convenient, but they last a lot longer in his system than the inhalers seem to. the thing is, it takes about a week to 10 days for it to start working to it's full capacity so both times they started him on it (we tried not giving it to him to see if his condition had improved) we've had to do oral steriods to get him through until the Pulmicort could start working.
have they found out what is causing the asthma attacks? obviously when we find that out i can try to keep him away from whatever is causing it (i'm hoping it's not my cats or dog!)
the only experience i had with asthma before this was my cousin has it and i remember her using 'breathing treatments' (nebulizer) when we were kids we'd have to stop playing and wait for her to do her treatment. i just ask a ton of questions, because i've spent too many nights in the ER with DS over the past year that i want to know what exactly i can do to help him and keep us out of that place!! :)