I have a skin condition named Psoriasis. It's usually pretty tame, but some days the itch is constant and very distracting from work. I can barely concentrate and get much done in the day because I'm constantly scratching my scalp and cleaning my desk from all the dandruff it produces.

Sometimes the itching is so severe that I need to take sick leave for the day. My manager is aware of my condition but maybe not the severity of it. Also, I do not need a doctor's note, but it feels unprofessional to leave due to "itchiness" even if it's intense.

How can I approach my manager about needing to leave work due to my condition?

  • 2
    Does your workplace require a doctor's note if you take sick leave? Are there any restrictions your workplace puts on what is allowed for sick leave (e.g. mental health days)?
    – David K
    Jul 6, 2018 at 12:37
  • 4
    Psoriasis can be a very, very serious condition. You certainly wouldn't refer to it as "itchiness". To make an extreme example, you wouldn't call a compound fracture a "sore arm".
    – Fattie
    Jul 6, 2018 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


Instead of calling it "itchiness", just explain to your manager that you are having a flare-up of your condition, that it's affecting your ability to work, and that you don't think it fair to your coworkers if you stay.

Tell your manager that you need to take sick time because of the flare up. It is a legitimate use of sick time. The fact that you have a medical condition that is not well understood does not change things.

You may want to explain to your manager that you have a severe form of your disease and that a flare up causes you a level of discomfort that makes it impossible to focus on your work.

Don't be embarrassed by your condition, just explain that at times, it will affect your ability to work, and at those times, you will need to take sick leave.


Would severe itching be reason enough to take a sick leave for the day?

That's something only you and your manager can decide.

In over 40 years of working, I've never heard of anyone taking a day off for "itchiness". And certainly I've never had anyone who worked for me request a day off for that reason.

You should discuss your condition with your manager, indicate the severity, and talk about the appropriateness and effectiveness of taking time off.

If this is a frequent thing and your manager is reluctant, you might consider a different job where your absence isn't as significant and/or concentration isn't as important.

This might help: https://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/living-with/coping-with-psoriasis-at-work/

  • 2
    I once went to the doctor in the early morning, was given penicillin, started driving to work, started getting a bad reaction to the penicillin, turned around after a few miles and went back home. The itching was so bad I wouldn't have arrived alive at work (driving quite a few miles on the motorway) and wouldn't have been able to do anything useful anyway. So it happens.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 7, 2018 at 22:51

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