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To work or not to work?

Best practice for flu season, and office protocol when cold and flu strikes your desk

The pressure to push through the fog when we get sick rises in today’s day and age with an ever-increasing workload and desire to impress. Whether it be the feeling the boss may get upset with you or that you’re not entitled to the day off unless you’re literally on death’s door or that you just do not want to let your teammates down, there are many reasons to force yourself to go to work. However, all of these reasons, the latter especially, are exactly why we should consider not going to work if we get laid low with a cold or the flu.

Influenza is on the rise and deadlier than ever. In August 2017, Immunisation Coalition statistics showed over a 50% increase in the number of confirmed cases of influenza as compared to the year before. 2018 statistics are equally concerning as influenza is already spreading even though it is early in the season. It’s important that you work to decrease the chances of infection heading into the winter of 2018.

What could possibly go wrong?

You are highly contagious

As long as you are showing symptoms including coughing, fatigue, fever, sometimes-even diarrhoea even vomiting it is recommended you stay away from others as much as possible. This is especially important in the working environment as it reduces productivity immensely. This can last around 1-2 weeks and you should avoid going into work until at least 24 hours after you have stopped experiencing symptoms. For adults working with children or the elderly or for children themselves it is important to review your workplace policy as influenza can be devastating for those with weaker immune systems.

The workplace isn’t “sick friendly”

Being sick means needing constant access to basic amenities like bathrooms, hygiene products and medication. It is inappropriate to constantly run off to the bathroom at work and the shared office space puts others at risk. Constantly coughing or blowing your nose may not just lead to annoying your co-workers, germs are likely to spread. Manual labour and strenuous work conditions can also be hazardous when your body needs rest.

Sickness will interfere with your decision making

You wouldn’t want to foggy headed, in need of a bathroom and blowing your nose every five minutes if you were trying to pilot a plane. Why should it be the same for other professions? When you’re sick you have a number of symptoms distracting you and as a result your decision-making is impaired. You could also experience side effects from cold and flu medication – yet another reason not to be at work.

You need rest to get better

Don’t let a three-to-five day sickness turn into a two-week-and-beyond problem just because you don’t want to disappoint others. Get the rest you need, focus on maintaining a healthy nutritious diet and take your medications at the recommended intervals. Make sure you are taking the best product for your symptoms (ask your pharmacist) and don’t double up by taking multiple products with similar formulas.

Just stay home

Don’t let the risk of widespread infection threaten your whole workplace during flu season. You may like to work from home but ultimately taking the time off is the best solution to maintaining high productivity within your workplace.

See your doctor

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if it is a simple cold or more serious influenza. If you think you may have “real” flu, there are treatments from your doctor that can help to shorten the duration and severity of the flu.

 

You may also be interested in the following:

Gut health and probiotics
Flu Vaccinations
Common sense for the common cold. Tips to stay healthy during winter

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