Should I Really Stay Home If I’m Sick? (Spoiler Alert: Yes)

Waking up with a runny nose and a cough leaves you with a difficult decision; do you stay home from work or go anyway? You consider how you’re feeling and debate if you’re too uncomfortable or sick to make it in. Sometimes, you have the symptoms but don’t feel terrible and think you should chance it. When you feel like this, here are some reasons you should stay home instead.


Unless it’s Allergies, Your Cold Is Probably Contagious

A dry cough and runny nose do not an illness make. If these are your only symptoms and physically you feel fine, it’s likely the cause is allergies which are not contagious. They can be treated with medicine and hopefully won’t derail your whole day.

But viral infections, like the flu and common cold, are contagious illnesses. In fact, they’re the most contagious during the first two days, meaning the day you realize you’re sick is one of the days you’re most likely to infect your co-workers.

Certain Germs Remain Contagious for 24 Hours

Maybe your aches aren’t terrible, and your fever is low, so you think it’s ok to take your coughs and sneezing to the workplace. Because cold and flu viruses can pass through the air, every time you sneeze or cough, you have the potential of spreading whatever is causing them.

There are certain methods, like coughing into your elbow or using a tissue, that can hinder the spread of germs, but any that make it on your hands are just waiting to attach themselves to doorknobs, counters and even your phone.

A Sinus Infection Doesn’t Mean You’re Clear

It’s true that not all sinus infections are contagious, but some are actually viral and fall into this category. When your sinuses start acting up, it’s easy to push it aside because it’s “just a sinus infection” and won’t make anyone else sick. Next time this happens, reconsider. Just because you assume it’s fine doesn’t mean you haven’t contracted a viral sinus infection which spreads just like other airborne illnesses.

At the end of the day, even if you feel bad about staying home, remember your co-workers will thank you for not getting them sick. Plus, sometimes a day of rest is just what the doctor ordered. Pushing yourself too hard can both extend and exacerbate your illness.


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