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Addison's Disease (Pediatric)

Your child has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease. This occurs when the adrenal glands don’t produce enough of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. The disease is also called adrenal insufficiency or hypocortisolism. A flare-up of this disease is called an addisonian crisis. Here's what you need to know about home care.

General Home Care

  • Increase your child’s salt intake. Examples of salty foods are canned soups and potato chips. Use table salt where needed.

  • Make sure your child takes all medications exactly as directed by your doctor. Your child will need to take replacement hormones for the rest of his or her life.

  • Carry a steroid injection kit for emergencies as directed by your doctor. Your child might need an emergency steroid shot if he or she is vomiting, unable to drink, or experiences an accident. The steroid dose may need to be doubled or tripled if he or she is injured or becomes seriously ill. Ask your doctor about when and why your child would need a double or triple dose of steroid.

  • Get your child a medical identification bracelet that says, "Addison's disease: takes steroid daily." Make sure your child wears the bracelet at all times.

  • Be sure to tell all your child’s healthcare providers (including dentists, surgeons, and specialists) that your child has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease. Your child’s steroid dose will need to be increased prior to any procedures.

How to Prevent an Addisonian Crisis

  • Make sure your child takes his or her medication.

  • Make sure your child drinks enough fluids. Don’t let your child become dehydrated.

  • Keep your child away from large crowds during cold and flu season.

  • Teach your child good hygiene, such as proper handwashing.

  • Keep your child’s vaccinations up to date. Get your child the flu shot every year.


  • Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

  • Keep regular follow-up appointments with your child’s doctor or endocrinologist (hormone specialist).

To Learn More

The resource below can help you learn more:

Hormone Health Network at 800-467-6663 or


When to Call Your Child's Doctor

Call the doctor right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Tiredness or weaknes

  • Loss of appetite or weight loss

  • Dizziness when standing up after sitting or lying down

  • Muscle aches

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Sharp pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs

  • Infection of any kind


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