CHICKENPOX

This is probably me being neurotic but being on a high dose of inhaled steroids. (250 seretide 2 puffs twice daily at moment - usually 4 puffs twice daily reducing when possible through winter when I usually get viruses. Plus a months worth of 30mg pred last winter). I am worried about catching chickenpox from my 1 yr old on Saturday neice... I have had chickenpox as a child.

There is a family party on Saturday and being selfish, as I feel so well at the moment, I don't want to risk catching the viris. Should I have any contact. This will probably not be accepted by some of the family.

I am probably being pathetic -

Hope this isnt too jumbly.

Thanks to anyone who can give any sort of advice.

Sandi

4 Replies

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  • Hi we had a similar problem, my sons school has slap cheek at the moment and my son is on 25mg pred a day, the school let me know but it's too late as the rash comes after the incubation period. I think chicken pox is the same, so you may have been exposed already. I phoned NHS direct 0845 46 47, they gave me some good advice and also gave me the local number for the health protection unit who told me more info. If he gets slap cheek he will have to go to the hospital to be checked over. Good luck, enjoy the party if you get there

  • Hello

    If you do a quick search for Chicken Pox, you will get some good advice about steroids and exposure.

    I have copied and pasted a reply from Em H below for starters.

    You are at the highest risk if you are on a high dose of oral steroid tablets and have not had chicken pox as a child.

    I have had chicken pox and shingles and did go to my Niece's 3rd birthday party / chicken pox party. I am on a high dose of inhaled steroids and was on 10mg of Prednisolone, my lowest dose as I am on pred all the time.

    I was OK and didn't catch chicken pox.

    I took this calculated risk myself but please check with your GP etc.

    Kate

    ""Chicken pox

    Kate, that's right, the risk is primarily with oral steroids. If you are on oral steroids and have contact with someone with chicken pox or shingles, particularly if you haven't already had chicken pox yourself, you should contact your doctor to see if you need immunisation with immunoglobulin, as there is increased risk of getting a severe form of the illness. The same applies to measles. As Kate says, if you are on oral steroids you should have a steroid card and the info about chicken pox should be on it.

    As far as inhaled steroids are concerned, I've done a very quick Medline search and it reveals that there are a very few (single figures!) case reports of severe chicken pox infection whilst on inhaled steroids alone, mostly in people on very high doses, ie 2000 mcg daily beclomethasone or 1000 mcg daily fluticasone. So the bottom line, I guess, is that the risk is very very small, but if you are concerned you should see your doctor.

    Please no-one stop oral or inhaled steroids because of contact with chicken pox without talking to your doctor or asthma nurse first!

  • Thanks so much Kate and Emily - thats helped a lot - in a way - I am on the very high level of inhaled steroid - 1000mg fluticasone as my minimum dose.

    Still not sure what I should do apart from ring my brother that is and see how the ground lies! I would hope they may postpone the party.

    I am seeeing my asthma nurse tomorrow and I will ask her the question - hoping that if need be she will go in to the DR for me. Appointments apart from emergencies are difficult to get and I feel like this is just me fussing. I am so protective of my wellness (when I have it that is!).

    Thanks both, its brill to have such advice at the touch of some buttons. Thanks I will let you know if I go and how I get on.

    Sandi

  • Hi Sandi,

    Thank you very much Kate for copying and pasting that bit from me before, saved me a lot of work!

    If you have had chicken pox as a child, you are likely to be immune. That, combined with the fact that you are on inhaled steroids, not oral steroids, suggests to me that the risk is small, but it is not non-existent, and only you can really decide whether it is worth it. The danger is that if you get chicken pox whilst on steroids, you are at greater risk of the severe complications such as pneumonitis and encephalitis, which can be very serious.

    It's probably a bit late for this occasion, but for future referance, if you have young relatives, you may want to ask your GP to do a blood test to check if you have antibodies to chicken pox, ie if you are immune due to a previous infection. If you do not, then they may agree to immunise you, if this can be done at a time when you are not on oral steroids.

    Hope this helps

    Em H

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