Asthma UK community forum

chickenpox/ shingles and pred


Just a quick question i work in a nursing home and a couple of the residents have come down with shingles and a member of staff has chicken pox, i have never had either and have no symptons at present but am on long term pred. I just wondered if anyone knows why this can cause problems if you are on pred and should i contact my gp.

I dont want to over react just not sure how much of a problem it could be

any advice gratefully recieved


4 Replies

My understanding is that if you are on pred (especially long term pred) and you come into contact with chicken pox you need to contact your GP/consulant as you may need anti viral meds.? The risk is much higher as you have not had chickenpox before. I think it has something to do with Pred lowering your immunity and your body's ability to fight the infection.

Hope this helps


I knew I had read it somewhere on here, this is taken from an old post:

""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.


Hi Sarah

Last year I got chickenpox for the second time only much worse than when I had it as a child, it was thought that perhaps I didn't get enough protection as a child and the effect of steroids contributed. I have to say it made me feel very unwell and not something I'd wish on anyone, I was given Aciclovir which is an antiviral drug (had to take about 5 horse sized tablets daily) unfortunately I did not start them soon enough as I did not know I had been in contact with someone with chickenpox and also even if I had known I would have assumed I was protected so only saw the doctor when I was presenting with all the symptoms (which in itself was an issue as they weren't sure if it was and was sent to A&E to make sure it wasn't some random allergic reaction!) which meant I got chickenpox full whack, it affected my chest a lot and I also ended up with a chest infection requiring IV antibiotics I'm not sure if this was related to the chickenpox though. So yes in a long winded way you really need to speak to your GP as soon as possible.

hope it all goes well and you manage to avoid it, Simi xx


Chicken pox, shingles and cold sores all caused by the herpes virus. Unfortunately herpes virus can spread to the brain if not treated. With prednisolone there is an increased risk of this happening as it dampens the bodies immune system. so early treatment recommended sometimes by an injection or oral anti virals.


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