90% of Americans Go to Work Sick

If you go into work when you're feeling under the weather, you aren't alone. A new study shows that 9 out of 10 employees report to work when they're ill—even if they have the flu.

"90 percent of employees surveyed admitted coming to work, at least sometimes, with a cold or flu symptoms. We also found out that 33 percent always come into the office sick," the survey noted.

Why do employees come in when they need to be resting? It's usually due to either an unmanageable workload or too few sick days. Over half of those who reported going into work with a cold or the flu said that they do so because they can't miss work for fear of falling further behind; another 40% don't want to use up sick time, of which they often receive too little.

It's recommended that if you have a high fever and respiratory symptoms, you stay home.

"You could be transmitting, you know, flu or another respiratory virus as your feverish so that's, that's kind of how we judge who should and who shouldn't be working with maybe sometimes common cold-like symptoms," said Rebecca O'Donnell, Albany Medical Center's director of epidemiology.

"... But, overall the blanket statement is if you have any respiratory symptoms to use, good hand hygiene, a mask to protect other co-workers and you know our patients, and then stay home when you're not when you're you know, have more than just cold-like symptoms," she added.

If you have no choice but to go into work when everyone around you is ill, here are some ways to help prevent sickness:

  • Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water.
  • If you can help it, avoid sharing phones, keyboards, or other items with coworkers.
  • Wipe down your work desk and other surfaces with a cleaning solution.
  • Get a flu shot.
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