Can steroids help when kids wheeze?
Giving steroids to children who wheeze because of viral or other infections doesn’t help, researchers have said.
About one-third of preschool children develop wheezing, which can worry parents. At least 75% outgrow the problem by age 6. In the past, doctors have treated it as they would asthma, which is why they often use corticosteroids.

"It is clear that on the basis of these two studies, current practice must change," Dr. Andrew Bush of the Imperial School of Medicine and Royal Brompton Hospital in London wrote in a commentary.

Dr. Jonathan Grigg of Queen Mary University in London and colleagues found that children given five days of the steroid prednisolone stayed just as long in hospital as children given a placebo. They tested nearly 700 children aged 10 months to 5 years old.

Nor was there any difference in their symptoms over the next seven days, Grigg's team reported.

"If your child is very sick, it doesn't mean you shouldn't give oral steroids. But in the general run of things, for most kids at home or presenting to their doctor with moderate wheezing that doesn't require many days in the hospital, steroids are not going to be of any benefit," Grigg said in a telephone interview.

Bush wrote: "It is disturbing to contemplate how many unnecessary courses of prednisolone have been given over the years, in good faith, because we all assumed that preschool children are little adults. There is certainly a lesson there for the use of other medications."

What treatments have you tried for a wheezing child? Have they worked?

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