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What steps can I take to prevent my child from getting chickenpox?

Answered by Dr Claire Winstanley
14th March 2016
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A chickenpox vaccine is widely available in some countries, but it is not in general use in the UK.

There are several other measures that parents can do to try and prevent the further spread of chickenpox if their child is ill. The NHS recommends keeping children at home for five days or until the last spot has scabbed over to prevent its spread. It is also recommended that children with chickenpox avoid contact with people who may develop a severe illness if they are exposed to the chickenpox virus. This includes:​

  • Pregnant women
  • People with immune systems that don’t work properly, such as people who are having chemotherapy or are taking oral steroid medication
  • Babies less than one month old
  • Children with severe heart or lung disease
  • Children with severe skin conditions

Healthy adults who haven’t had chickenpox before should also be avoided if possible, as the illness and its symptoms tend to be more severe in adults. Although it is not available for everyone, the chickenpox vaccine is offered by the NHS for people who are in close, regular contact with someone who has a poor immune system. If you have close contact with someone who is in one of these at risk groups, your family doctor will be able to provide advice regarding the chickenpox vaccination. 

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