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Bringing Sickness To The Workplace

Bringing Sickness To The Workplace

School started last week and with record-breaking swiftness – our home is now infected with the Back to School Plague. On just day 5, our entire household looks (and feels) like walking zombies with puffy eyes, sore throats and runny noses. The impossible nights of trying to sleep with your mouth wide open, drying out your already raw throat, makes for a really challenging morning. Fortunately for me, I am a work-at-home mom, so I can nurse myself with some chicken soup, my favorite slippers and maybe even work in a small nap. But for my husband, the choice to stay home to rest is not often a choice for him at all. He is just a “work through the pain” kind of guy plus, his boss is not always the most understanding. The industry he works in moves fast so he has to keep up. I remember how it was to work in the corporate world but honestly it always turned out to be counterproductive to show up to work with a cold. It’s also rude, too. I always hated it when my co-worker in the cubicle next to me, brought sickness to the workplace. I knew inevitably, it would catch it. No wonder I became a germaphobe!

So, if you decide to bring sickness to the workplace, you’ll:

Get Others Sick

It’s no secret that germs spread from direct contact with a sick person. Shake hands with an infected person or even touch the doorknob they just touched and you’re doomed! Some viruses can even live on the skin or other surfaces for at least a few hours and continue to infect others. In addition, viruses can spray a few feet following a cough or sneeze. It is imperative to stay at home if you work in close quarters with other people, if you handle food, if you work with young children, the elderly or people with weak immune systems.

Be Less Productive

It is hard to know the exact financial and physical ramifications that an illness takes on an individual or employer. Sure, if you show up at work you’ll be more productive than if you stayed home and didn’t do any work at all, but you may not be as sharp or efficient when suffering from a cold.

Take Longer to Recover

Pushing yourself and working too much in the early stages of illness may actually prolong your recovery time which may equal having to take more time off. Studies have shown that lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to colds. Conversely, getting enough sleep can boost infection-fighting cells and antibodies so you can get well faster. Do yourself a favor and stay home and rest.

Ideally, when it’s an option, one should rest and recuperate during a cold. If that’s not possible, see if you can work from home so at least you won’t spread your germs. If you must go to work, try to keep your distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or elbow. You can also cover with a tissue but be sure to throw it away immediately and then wash your hands.

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