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Steroids not effective for chest infections in adults who dont have asthma or other chronic lung disease

If you do need a steroid card, make sure you always carry it with you. If you lose it, you can get a replacement from your pharmacy or GP. This is why it’s important to get your annual flu vaccination and be up to date with your coronavirus vaccines.

  • This is sometimes known as “occupational bronchitis”, and it usually eases once you’re no longer exposed to the irritant substance.
  • If you’re taking steroid tablets you might need to avoid live vaccines, such as yellow fever.
  • Steroids can sometimes cause diabetes or raised blood sugar in people who haven’t previously had this condition.
  • Early clinical failure in children is also favored by the addition of corticosteroids (risk ratio 0.41; 95% CI, 0.24–0.70).
  • The person treating you might change the dose of your medications if needed.

Knowing this allows the healthcare team to give you prompt medical treatment. If they’re not sure, they might give you a ‘delayed prescription’ of antibiotics, meaning you should only take them if you don’t feel better in a few days. Most chest infections are caused by viruses, which can’t be treated with antibiotics. If you have asthma, you can have an increased risk of getting a chest infection.

What are steroids?

Use our severe asthma tool to find out if you need a referral to a severe asthma specialist. If you need two or more short courses of steroid tablets in a year, or your symptoms come back once you’ve finished the course, you should ask your GP for a referral to a specialist clinic. Or you may need a longer course of steroids if your asthma is severe or difficult to control.

Steroids and salbutamol have shown benefits compared with placebo over extended follow-up periods (3-12 hours). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a group of commonly used painkillers. Steroids that are injected into a blood vessel (intravenous steroids) may cause more widespread side effects.

Speak to a nurse

If a woman needs to take steroid tablets whilst she is breastfeeding, prednisolone is usually recommended. Steroid injections, inhalers and sprays aren’t thought to pose a risk to babies being breastfed. Steroid tablets may be recommended if you’re pregnant and have severe asthma. This is because the risk to your baby from uncontrolled asthma is higher than from the medication.

If you are prescribed oral steroid tablets these will be a higher dose than the inhaled form. For this reason they are prescribed in short courses rather than continually. If you are prescribed a course of oral steroids you should complete the course or seek advice from your doctor or asthma nurse if you have any side effects. The vaccine against the most common cause of pneumonia and yearly flu vaccines don’t interact with steroid tablets, as they’re not live vaccines.

Changes in blood sugar levels

It’s important that you don’t stop taking steroids without speaking to the person treating you first. If you normally wear contact lenses, you might need to avoid wearing these while having treatment with steroid eye drops. You might not be able to start steroids if you have an infection, or if you have any wounds on your body, as steroids might delay these getting better or cover up some of your symptoms.

You might have blood tests during cancer treatment to check for this. If your asthma symptoms are really bothering you, you can also take your online anabolic pharmacy reliever inhaler when you get asthma symptoms. If you have a chest infection, you may need to use your reliever inhaler more than normal.

Diabetes medication

Call or WhatsApp our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello. Talk to your GP about other conditions you have and medicines you take, like high blood pressure, stomach ulcer or diabetes.

You’ll need to keep taking the steroids while you’re waiting to be considered for biologics. Some people may need to continue taking them if they are not eligible for the biologic treatments available. A course of steroid tablets can help you recover and lower your risk of another asthma attack. Because you’re only taking them for a short time, they’re unlikely to cause harmful side effects.


In asthma there really is no evidence for antibiotics (in fact good evidence of no benefit in the non-Covid-19 context) unless there is evidence of pneumonia. Current guidelines say that some steroid tablets, including prednisolone, can be taken during pregnancy. They’re often used to treat flare-ups in women who are pregnant. If you’re using a steroid cream it’s fine to have vaccinations, but you’ll need to tell the person giving you the injection to avoid the area being treated with the cream.

What are the side effects of steroids?

Mumsnet hasn’t checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have medical concerns, please seek medical attention; if you think your problem could be acute, do so immediately. Even qualified doctors can’t diagnose over the internet, so do bear that in mind when seeking or giving advice.

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