Not content with injecting live vaccines into the immature immune systems of babies, the medical authorities have recently approved the use of a steroid for tots just three months old.

The news has already been welcomed with unquestioningly open arms in some quarters; the English arch advocate of all things orthodox, Dr Thomas Stuttaford, believes the newly approved product Pulmicort (generically known as budesonide) could be as important to the modern mum as gripe water was to her mother and grandmother.Pulmicort, manufactured by Astra, is an inhaler designed to relieve asthma and croup. It is the first product for croup to receive British approval, and can be given to children as young as three months, says the manufacturer.

Dr Stuttaford says that, as a steroid, it has few if any side effects, which may come as a surprise to some claiming damage from steroids.

The statement may come as a bit of a surprise to the manufacturer, too. It warns the drug may cause sudden bronchoconstriction, as well as throat irritation, coughing and hoarseness.

According to the listed side effects of another version of the generic drug, budesonide, also manufactured by Astra, it suppresses the immune system and normally innocuous diseases such as chickenpox and measles can become killers, a point worth checking if your child is on the drug and is about to have his first innoculations.

Perhaps, then, not quite so benign as gripe water after all.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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