When Should I Take a Sick Day from Work?

January 10, 2018
Take a sick day from work

Most Americans feel pressure to power through their work days even when they are feeling under the weather. But, when does "sick" become "too sick" for work? Here is how you should determine whether to stay home when you are feeling ill.

You have a fever.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you shouldn't return to work until at least 24 hours after your fever has subsided without the use of acetaminophen or other fever-reducing medicines.

You are contagious.

Most people associate missed time at work with lower productivity. In reality, however, sick employees actually hamper business productivity by spreading their illnesses to co-workers. According to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American employers surrender about $160 billion each year in lost productivity due to their employees working while sick. If you have a contagious cold, stay home until you feel better, especially if you work around elderly people, hospitalized patients, young children, or people with impaired immune systems

Your medications inhibit your ability to work.

If your medications promote foggy thinking and daytime sleepiness, you really shouldn't be working. This is especially true if you work in a high-risk environment where accidents are more likely.

How to Take a Sick Day

Remember that even the healthiest most energetic employees have to take sick days every once in a while. Try to avoid stressing about your decision to stay home from work and focus on getting better, so you can get back to work as soon as possible.
When you recognize the need to stay home and recover from an illness, notify your employer right away. This will help him or her make arrangements to deal with the issue. If you feel nervous about the interaction, express your fear that you will infect others in the workplace, and make an attempt to reschedule any important meetings or tasks. By expressing your intent and ability to make up for lost time, you can alleviate concerns for your boss, while also reducing your own stress.

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Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!
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