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Find out what you can do to stop chickenpox spreading to others, including how long to stay away from work or school.

Chickenpox is highly contagious and can make some people very ill, so it's important to try to avoid spreading it to others.

Some of the things you can do are outlined below.

Stay away from school or work

If you or your child has chickenpox, stay away from nursery, school or work until you've stopped getting any new spots and for at least 5 days after the first spots appeared.

But you don't need to wait until all the spots have healed or crusted over before going back as the risk of spreading it to others is very small after 5 days.

Avoid contact with people at risk

Certain people are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they become infected with chickenpox.

These include:

  • pregnant women
  • newborn babies
  • people with a weakened immune system (the body's defence system), such as people with HIV, those taking high doses of steroid medication and those having chemotherapy

If possible, try to avoid contact with people from these groups until the blisters have scabbed over and you're no longer contagious.

Clean and wash regularly

Chickenpox can be spread through contact with objects that have been contaminated with the virus, such as toys, bedding or clothing.

If someone in your house has chickenpox, you can help stop it spreading by cleaning any objects or surfaces with a disinfectant and making sure that any infected clothing or bedding is washed regularly.

Check before travelling on a plane

If you or your child has chickenpox, you may not be allowed to fly until all the blisters have dried and scabbed over.

It's a good idea to inform the airline of your situation and check whether they have a policy about when they allow people with chickenpox to fly.

It's also important to let your travel insurer know if you or your child has chickenpox.

You need to make sure that you'll be covered if you have to delay or cancel your holiday, or extend your stay until your child's well enough to fly home.

Chemotherapy is a treatment of an illness or disease with a chemical substance, e.g. in the treatment of cancer.
Immune system
The immune system is the body's defence system, which helps protect it from disease, bacteria and viruses.
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