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My 4 year old son received his 4 year immunizations (including chicken pox booster) on Friday. On Tuesday, his baby sitter was diagnosed with Shingles around her eye (after he had been there and exposed for two days).  My questions/concerns are as follows:

1) Is he more likely to get chicken pox or a more severe case of chicken pox given he was just injected with it by way of vaccine Friday and then exposed to it on Monday and Tuesday?
2) He received a five day course of steroids in May for a URI/asthma flare up.  Does this make him more likely to get a severe case even though it has been a month since he was on the steroids?

His pediatrician just instructed me to keep him away from the sitter (too late!) and keep an eye out for symptoms.  Is there anything that can be done or meds that can be given to prevent them?  I know most cases are mild but I am terrified of the possible complications.

Thanks in advance.

Hi, Pamela,

If your son didn't touch the lesions around the babysitters eyes, he will not get chickpox.  Shingles, the manifestation of one having a prior chickpox infection, is spread only by touching the lesions, not by air.

If anything, the vaccine may have a protective effect against chickenpox from this expose to a case of shingles, even though it takes about two weeks for full protection after the vaccine is given.  

The steroid burst for the asthma is not germane here.  It is a non-issue, especially over a month later.

Again, very unlikely he will get chickenpox from this sort of exposure, and even less likely if he had the single chickenpox vaccine at age one.

Shingles is not at all contagious (meaning getting a case of chickenpox)when all the lesions are crusted over.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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