The surprise link between asthma and shingles

Shingles is a dreadful illness one in three of us are likely to experience. Actor John Wood recently spoke out

Shingles is a dreadful illness one in three of us are likely to experience. Actor John Wood recently spoke out about his battle with shingles and the excruciating, debilitating pain it caused him. It was a wake-up call to many in our community to speak to their doctor about the risks.

Absolutely anyone who has contracted chickenpox is at risk of it resurfacing, particularly past the age of 50. However, it is unclear as to why it his so many while others manage to avoid it.

Now, according to Medical News Today, asthma may be one major factor putting us at risk.

A new study by Mayo Clinic found that those who suffer from childhood asthma are likelier to develop shingles later in life. The research team discovered that adults with a history of asthma could have a 70% higher risk of eventual shingles.

Dr. Young Juhn, lead author of the study, said the effects of asthma “might very well go beyond the airways”.

It is believed that the weakened immune system of asthma could be to blame; with immunity suppressed, the virus is more likely to reactivate.

In an earlier Starts at 60 piece on shingles, we learned that only 4 per cent of Australians surveyed consider themselves at high risk of shingles – despite roughly one in three of us being affected.

“There is still a low level of understanding of shingles risk among older Australians,” says John Litt, Associate Professor of General Practice at Flinders University.

“Shingles can often present itself with vague symptoms such as mild to severe pain in a particular area, or a rash on part of the body. People may dismiss these symptoms as minor or temporary until it is too late to treat, and nerve damage begins before the rash appears”.

“Older Australians need to be better informed about their risk of shingles by speaking with their doctor”.

Have you (or anyone you know) suffered from either asthma or shingles? Are you concerned by these new findings?

  1. My grandie got 2 severe attacks at 15yrs old. At the time she was under a lot of stress through bullying etc.

  2. I never had asthma. Chicken pox at 16 shingles a couple of years ago…ongoing pain. A friends husband had shingles in his 20 s, thirty years later still suffers. From onset of rash you have 72 hours to have needle to avoid pain. If you have a rash,& doctor says hives…get a second opinion! It could be shingles.

  3. You don’t have to be old to get shingles, I had it twice when I was younger, & have never had asthma.

  4. There is a vaccine against shingles now. Whisper will be on pbs for over 65’s soonish. Currently quite expensive with discount at one chemist 205$ shop around. But if your likely and have the $ i’d do it. I’ve had shingles when young (no asthma) it’s awful especially if you end up with the neuralgia I’d do but can’t afford it at this point:(.

    • I have had it twice 5 years ago and then 9 months ago when it was worse. Like you caught it early but tablets made no differance. Wouldnt wish it on my worse enermy. My doc told me vaccine useless if you have had it before. I still get the nerve pain regularly. Learn to live with it but it can be very painful. Left scars all down my left side .

    • I have had neuralgia for about 7 years but I haven’t had shingles. My husband has had shingles but not neuralgia

  5. I have shingles aged 64. Rash nearly gone but nerve pain horrendous. Going into my 3rd week now. Realised too late what it was so tablets no good. Now i cant have the needle for 2 yrs 😁 nerve pain worse than child birth 😱

  6. You only get shingles if you have previously had chicken pox. If only parents would immunise their children against chicken pox, maybe we can prevent future cases of shingles which is such a horrible illness.

  7. Yes I get Asthma and had Shingles many years ago. I had to have injections every day for Shingles, a very uncomfortable disease.

  8. I have never had shingles and i hope i never do.My mum had shingles in her late 60’s and she didn’t have asthma. My dr said i had asthma about 4 years ago but i didn’t have it when i was young.

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