Life Skills: When Should You Stay Home Sick From Work?
It is that time of year and the flu is making its rounds, but if you wake up in the middle of the night with a fever, stomach ache or back pain, how do you know whether or not your symptoms justify staying home from work?
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:
• How well can you carry out your work duties? If you are not functioning at a normal level, what will the results be? Will it affect you or the safety of others?
• Are you contagious? If you have a viral or bacterial illness, you will expose coworkers and perhaps customers. Staying at home helps contain your germs.
• Will resting at home help your body to overcome the illness or pain? Most people ignore the symptoms and continue to work because they can’t or won’t stay home. By doing this, people are making themselves worse than if they had just stayed home to rest.
• Are you taking medications that could impair your ability to work, think, operate machinery or drive? If you are so sick or in so much pain that you cannot function without medication, you really should stay home. The drugs may affect your normal functions without your realizing it.
Here are some common conditions that make it difficult to work:
• Stomach flu with gas, diarrhea and/or vomiting
• Cold and flu with sore throat, sneezing, running nose. You should stay home because of the contagious factor.
• Sinus infection with nasal discharge, stuffiness, facial pain and pressure plus headache.
• Pinkeye. Besides being highly contagious, symptoms include eye redness, tearing, itching, burning, swelling and eyelids sticking together.
• Back pain. Most people figure out ways to manage minor back pain, but if the pain worsens by doing your job—you may want to stay home.
• Staph skin infections are contagious after skin-to-skin contact but curable with antibiotics and a bandage.
When in doubt, consult your doctor!
Adapted from WebMD