Oral steroids enter the bloodstream to get to the lungs, so they can cause these and other systemic effects, particularly if used frequently or for long periods of time. Other effects include cataracts, increased blood sugar, lack of blood supply to some bones and suppression of the body's own production of steroids needed during stress. Since inhaled steroids reduce the amount of oral steroids that may be needed for asthma, they may be safer than just using as needed mediation in all but the mildest forms of asthma. If your child is given many courses of oral steroids, careful monitoring for some of these side effects may be necessary.
You can buy some topical corticosteroids "over-the-counter" without a prescription. For example, for dermatitis, you can buy the steroid cream called hydrocortisone 1% from your pharmacy. Do not apply this to your face unless your doctor has told you to do so. This is because it may trigger a skin condition affecting the face ( acne or rosacea. ) Long-term use may also damage the skin. On your face this would be more noticeable than the rest of your body. So usually only weak steroids are used on the face. Those which are suitable are prescription-only.
The common side effects of inhaled corticosteroids are hoarse voice, sore throat, and a mild throat infection called thrush (yeast infection). Sore throat and thrush are commonly caused by poor puffer technique. Show your healthcare provider how you use your puffer. Rinsing out your mouth with water after every dose of inhaled corticosteroids will also help reduce these side effects. If you are using a pressurized MDI (pMDI) inhaled steroid, then doctors recommend the use of a spacer device , especially for children. A spacer slows down the delivery of the aerosol droplets that carry the medicine, making delivery even better targeted to get into the airways. Remember, spacers should not be used with dry-powered devices such as the DISKUS® or Turbuhaler®.