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Pred and being around someone with shingles- help please D:

I have a 5 day course of prednisolone and read in the leaflet that you shouldn't take them if you're around someone with shingles, which my dad has. I kind of assumed that because I've already had chicken pox, it'd mean that it doesn't matter because you can't catch shingles from someone if you've already had chicken pox. But then when I mentioned it to my mum and dad, they seemed to think that it doesn't matter that I already had them because it doesn't differentiate in the leaflet.

Wondering if someone could shed some light on this!



7 Replies

My mum is on immunosuppresants and my sister on long term pred and I know we had this conversation when my kids had chicken pox as my mum and sister had already had it, unfortunately though I can't remember what the outcome was, it was a few years ago. Maybe you could ring a chemist and speak to the pharmacist? I'm my experience they've always been quite happy to help, failing that give 111 a call, they're supposed to be there for any kind of medical help and advice.

Hope you find the answer


Thank you for the advice Butterfly! I'll ring up the chemists and ask (:




I would speak to a chemist/111 but I have regularly had this conversation as I teach very young children and am often on pred. Whenever, someone in my class has chicken pox my doctor has always said be vigilant against first signs. If I was to get symptoms, they would give me anti virals but have never had to do anything unless I actually got it (I have never had chicken pox before).


Thanks Kayla (:

Unfortunately the pharmacist wasn't overly helpful and gave me a 'I can't really confirm 100% that you won't catch shingles' so it looks like I may have to speak to my GP surgery tomorrow to get a more definitive answer.


I was banned by the doctor from going in the day ward at the hospital the other day, as they had a patient with shingles and I'm on steroids. I've previously had both chicken pox and shingles.


This should help...

From NHS choices:

Chickenpox and shingles

One you have had chickenpox, you usually develop antibodies to the infection and become immune to catching it again. However, the virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella virus, remains dormant (inactive) in your body's nerve tissues and can return later in life as an illness called shingles.

It is possible to catch chickenpox from someone with shingles, but not the other way around.

And the advice in the BNF (doctors prescribing formulary) about steroids regarding the above:


Unless they have had chickenpox, patients receiving oral or parenteral corticosteroids for purposes other than replacement should be regarded as being at risk of severe chickenpox (see Steroid Treatment Card). Manifestations of fulminant illness include pneumonia, hepatitis and disseminated intravascular coagulation; rash is not necessarily a prominent feature.

Passive immunisation with varicella–zoster immunoglobulin (section 14.5.2) is needed for exposed non-immune patients receiving systemic corticosteroids or for those who have used them within the previous 3 months. Confirmed chickenpox warrants specialist care and urgent treatment (section Corticosteroids should not be stopped and dosage may need to be increased.

Topical, inhaled or rectal corticosteroids are less likely to be associated with an increased risk of severe chickenpox.


Thank you! Had it confirmed this morning that it's okay to take them (:


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