New to asthma, but what about Chickenpox?

Hi there,

I am completely new to asthma and finding the whole experience a little overwhelming!

My son Ollie is 15 months old and has always wheezed with every cold or viral infection.

He had bronchiolitus when he was 3 months old and since then has been given Atrovent inhalers whenever he wheezes, which is very often. He is generally down at the doctors every couple of weeks during the cold weather.

Two and a half weeks ago his breathing got very, very bad. He was severely struggling and so we ended up in hospital where he was given Prednisolone, Atrovent, Salbutomal and Becotide.

He is still on the 3 inhalers but only had a 3 day course of prednisolone.

His breathing seemed to be getting better and better until yesterday when he had another attack of severe breathlessness. We ended up back down at the hospital where they upped his doses on his inhalers and sent us home.

No one has confirmed that it is asthma yet, although several doctors have used that word. And there is a strong family history of asthma, (Although neither me nor my other half have it)

This morning he came out in spots... and we have an appointment at the doctors again to get it confirmed, but I am fairly sure they look like chickenpox. (Niether of my children have had chickenpox before)

Should I be worried about complications, due to the prednisolone and inhalers. and is the wheezing and breathlessness likely to get worse?

I know these are things I can asked my doctor, but at our surgery you get a different doctor every visit so I have no idea if I'm going to get any help.

Any advice would be most appriciated as it is comforting to know that I'm not the only person going through things like this!



4 Replies

  • Hello Ollie's Mum,

    Sorry Ollie is poorly again.

    Do you have the Blue steroid card? It advises about chicken pox & steroids so take it with you and wave it at your GP. Is he on the prednisolone at the mo?

    The Inhalers shouldn't be of concern but do ask your GP though about the steroids. Write a list of all his meds down including, if you can when he had the steroids but that should be on the GPs records.

    I hope this is of help for you and I understand your concern.

    I am on steroids all the time and a few years ago, developed shingles ( Chicken pox variation) - I was OK - Just very itchy for months!

    Take care


  • Thank you, Kate, for your reply.

    Just to let you know the trip to the doctors was as we expected. The poor little fella now has chickenpox on top of everything else!

    I also managed to get a fairly helpfull doctor. She managed to answer a couple of my questions and didn't seem concerned with the medications Ollie is currently on (He is not on Prednisolone at the mo, just the Salbutomal, Atrovent and Becotide).

    The only thing she did say was to keep an eye out for a secondary infection, as there was a chance he could end up with some kind of chest infection as well.

    Thank you for your Help!!!


  • Glad to be of help.

    Sounds like GP was reasuring too.

    Poor ollie - an itchy Christmas so keep the calamine in the fridge along with the wine!

    Take care


  • Chicken pox and steroids

    Hi Sarah,

    Sorry to hear about Ollie's asthma and chicken pox, the poor little mite must be feeling very miserable at the moment.

    It sounds like you've already got pretty good advice from the others and your doctor, but I thought I would just reiterate the general advice on chicken pox and steroids.

    In folks who are or have recently been on oral steroid tablets (eg prednisolone) and very occasionally in kids on high dose inhaled steroids, there is an increased of developing severe complications such as chicken pox pneumonia or meningitis if they are exposed to chicken pox. These complications can very occasionally be fatal.

    The current advice is that anyone who is on oral steroids or who has been on them in the last 3 months should avoid contact with people with chicken pox and should seek medical advice immediately if they have contact with someone or if they develop any symptoms of chicken pox. In rare cases it might be necessary to treat the person exposed with antibodies to try to prevent them getting chicken pox, or with antiviral medication to reduce the severity of the infection. The more rapidly these medications are given, the more effective they are.

    As your doctor has obviously told you, inhaled steroids and even previous brief courses of oral steroids are less of a problem, and it sounds like poor Ollie just needs some TLC and a close eye kept on him! Although the timing obviously is not great with Christmas and all, in a way it is a very positive thing that he has got chicken pox now, as it'll give him immunity in the future - always a good idea as it tends to be more unpleasant when you are older, and could be dangerous in the future if he does require more courses of oral steroids. I was exposed to chicken pox last year at work whilst on long term oral steroids, and was very glad that I had had it as a child, otherwise I might well have found myself being admitted for intravenous immunoglobulin (antibody) treatment!

    If in doubt, though, always seek advice from your doctor sooner rather than later... the complications can really be very serious. There is a simple blood test that can be done to demonstrate whether you have had chicken pox and are immune, if you can't remember.

    Hope Ollie is a little less spotty and itchy by Christmas... can only echo the advice re calamine!

    Hope this helps

    Em H

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