As a previous poster said, albuterol isn't a steroid. For most asthmatics, albuterol is their "rescue" medicine. It is used to open up (dilate) the airways for quick relief during an episode. And, it is used to get those airways open so that other longer-acting, preventative medicines can get in. Those preventative meds are the steroids that you are concerned about. They are used to prevent the inflammatory response that causes the airways to constrict.
As for what the albuterol does for your child... well, it helps her breathe. If a virus/infection has triggered the asthma, it also helps open up her airways so she can cough up that gunk that is further constricting them. Long-term, you are right... albuterol is doing nothing for her. It is not a preventative. Short-term, it is doing a lot.
I do have to address this:
Originally Posted by Aka mommy
Though she isnt even gasping for air.
You don't have to be gasping for air to be having an asthma attack. I don't gasp for air when my asthma is acting up. Let me see if I can think of an exercise to explain it. Sit quietly in a chair. Take a deep breath, filling up your lungs about 2/3 full. Leave your lungs that full and now breath shallowly... don't gasp, don't release all of your breath. Just use what lung capacity you have left to breathe. Do that for a minute or two. You can do it, you can even survive on it. You don't need to gasp. But, do you feel like getting up and doing a jig while breathing like that? Probably not.
That was one of the first things I noticed after I starting treating my asthma... I just had more energy. More energy equals more fun, of course. But, it also equals more energy for your child's body to fight off that infection that triggered the asthma in the first place.
That is not to say that there are not more natural asthma treatments. There are natural ways to help prevent the asthma attack in the first place, and that may be what you want to focus on so that you can avoid the steroids you are worried about. But, as an asthmatic, I wouldn't recommend witholding a bronchodilator (the albuterol) if needed. Breathing easily makes everything else in life much easier, whether you are a kid or adult.