Chickenpox UK Problem


Can I Go to Work If My Child Has Chickenpox in the UK?


Dealing with childhood illnesses can be challenging for parents, especially when it comes to making decisions about work and childcare. One common concern is whether it is acceptable to go to work if your child has chickenpox. In the United Kingdom (UK), there are guidelines and considerations to keep in mind when facing this situation. This article aims to provide information and guidance for parents who find themselves in this predicament.

Understanding Chickenpox

Before discussing the implications of going to work when your child has chickenpox, it’s important to understand the basics of the illness.

What is Chickenpox?

Chickenpox, also known as varicella, is a highly contagious viral infection. It primarily affects children but can also occur in adults who have not previously been infected. The varicella-zoster virus causes chickenpox, and it spreads easily through respiratory droplets or direct contact with the fluid from the blisters.

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How does Chickenpox spread?

Chickenpox spreads from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with the fluid from the blisters. It is most contagious during the first few days before the rash appears. The virus can also spread by touching objects or surfaces contaminated with the virus.

Symptoms of Chickenpox

The symptoms of chickenpox typically include an itchy rash, fever, headache, and general malaise. The rash starts as small, red spots that then develop into fluid-filled blisters. These blisters eventually crust over and scab before healing completely.

Can I go to work if my child has Chickenpox?

When your child has chickenpox, there are several factors to consider before deciding whether or not you can go to work.

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Workplace Policies and Regulations

The first step is to familiarize yourself with your workplace policies and regulations regarding infectious diseases and parental leave. Many employers have specific guidelines in place to address these situations. Some workplaces may require parents to take time off while their child recovers from an infectious illness like chickenpox. Check your company’s policies and consult with your HR department if needed.

Taking Time Off

If your workplace requires you to take time off, it’s crucial to understand your entitlements. In the UK, employees are generally entitled to parental leave, but this may be unpaid or have specific conditions attached. Research your rights and discuss them with your employer or HR representative.

Remote Work Options

If your child has a mild case of chickenpox and you have the ability to work remotely, it may be possible to continue working from home. This option allows you to fulfill your work obligations while also caring for your child. Discuss the possibility of remote work with your employer to determine if it’s a feasible arrangement.

Communicating with Your Employer

Open and honest communication with your employer is essential when your child has chickenpox. Inform your employer as soon as possible about your child’s diagnosis and discuss the available options. Be transparent about your situation and express your willingness to cooperate in finding a suitable solution. By maintaining open lines of communication, you can work together to address any concerns and come up with a plan that works for both parties.

Importance of Vaccination

One effective way to prevent chickenpox and its potential impact on work and childcare is through vaccination. In the UK, the chickenpox vaccine is not routinely offered as part of the national immunization schedule. However, it is available privately and recommended for certain high-risk individuals, such as healthcare workers and non-immune adults.

By ensuring that both you and your child are vaccinated against chickenpox, you can significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus and experiencing work-related disruptions.

Preventing the Spread of Chickenpox

To minimize the spread of chickenpox and protect others, it’s crucial to follow preventive measures. Encourage your child to practice good hygiene, such as regularly washing their hands with soap and water. Avoid close contact with individuals who have weakened immune systems, pregnant women, and newborns, as they are particularly vulnerable to complications from chickenpox.

Managing Chickenpox in Children

When your child has chickenpox, it’s important to provide them with appropriate care and support their recovery. Ensure they get plenty of rest, drink fluids to stay hydrated, and alleviate itchiness by using calamine lotion or antihistamine medications, as recommended by a healthcare professional.

Monitor your child’s symptoms closely and consult with a healthcare provider if there are any concerns about their well-being. Keep them home from school or childcare until they are no longer contagious, which is typically when all the blisters have crusted over.


Making the decision whether to go to work when your child has chickenpox requires careful consideration of various factors, including workplace policies, your entitlements, and the severity of your child’s illness. Communicating openly with your employer and exploring options like taking time off or working remotely can help strike a balance between your work responsibilities and caring for your child.

Remember, preventing the spread of chickenpox through vaccination, practicing good hygiene, and following healthcare guidelines are crucial in minimizing the impact of this contagious illness on both your child and your work life.


Yes, adults who have not previously had chickenpox or been vaccinated against it can contract the virus if they come into contact with someone who has it.

The incubation period for chickenpox is usually between 10 to 21 days. However, it can take up to 21 days for symptoms to appear after exposure to the virus.

Yes, it is possible to catch chickenpox from someone who has shingles if you haven’t had chickenpox or been vaccinated against it before.

A child with chickenpox should stay home from school or childcare until all the blisters have crusted over, usually around 5 to 7 days after the rash first appears.

It is rare but possible to get chickenpox more than once. However, most people develop lifelong immunity after having the illness once.




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