Too Sick to Work?

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

I have no voice this week. Literally. When I do talk, I sound a bit like a kazoo. So, shortly after I came in to work yesterday, I was voted out of the office... Nobody wanted me making them sick. In my defense, I'm not coughing, there's no fever, I'm just hoarse, all of which translates in my head to being healthy enough to work. That's the question of the day, really: How sick is too sick for work? WebMD did a whole article on this, and we'll talk with one of their doctors on the show. And let us know, how sick is too sick to go to work?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

How about the "dedicated" jerks who come in to work while sick & get everyone else sick; this happens with the flu all the time.

Sent by Christopher | 2:41 PM | 1-2-2008

tell the boss you have diarrhea. it will gross them out and have them scrambling to get off the phone.

Sent by jay lassiter | 2:48 PM | 1-2-2008

I once missed an entire week of work because I ignored a sore throat, then I went back as soon as I felt human again and ended up missing a second week. Since then I always take the day off if I feel badly.

Sent by kevin weeks | 2:53 PM | 1-2-2008

The floor in my office building does not have a restroom. I have to go up 4 floors to the closest one, but often stay home since I can't always predict my bodily functions in time to make it up there.

Sent by john | 2:53 PM | 1-2-2008

I get upset when my co-workers or people like cashiers come to work sick. People don't realize that they will spread their colds/flue! People need to stay home or at least wash their hands, stiffle their coughs, etc. etc.

Sent by Leah Harp | 2:53 PM | 1-2-2008

Working in the tech business means I can work from home. I can get work done without infecting my co-workers. The cold or flu does not stop me from working.

Sent by Christina | 2:55 PM | 1-2-2008

Where at some jobs sick days are categorized as personal days, people will come to work when sick and stay home when well so they can enjoy their personal day off.

Sent by Joel Heller | 2:56 PM | 1-2-2008

Gross meal! A dear family friend invited my family to dinner. We could hardly contain ourselves when the "cook" coughed continuously into his hand, whiped it on his pant leg, and kept right on cooking dinner...without washing his hands once!!!! What could we do?

Sent by Jamie | 2:56 PM | 1-2-2008

I work in a hospital. Our perspective is that we should at least appear healthier than those we treat...as a director, I notice most of the malingerers have a lot of Monday and Friday illnesses. Personally, I wear a mask and gloves anyways so I always come in unless I think I will get nothing done.

Sent by Jim Higgins | 2:58 PM | 1-2-2008

It seems to me that this is one of those "Common Sense Prevails" situations. People have to assess the impact that they will have both on their own health as well as the potential risks to those around them. If you establish a pattern of responsibility and consideration, you will both make the right choice - AND, you will get the most lattitude - and GRATITUDE from your employers AND your cooworkers :0)

Sent by TD~) | 2:58 PM | 1-2-2008

I am an art teacher and it takes me so long to write lesson plans that when I take off sick it is because I really need to. Plans have to be detailed enough that anyone can teach them.
Parents sending sick kids really hurts schools. I understand some parents will be fired if they stay home with a sick kid, but snotty, runny noses really get spread around a school alot.
I keep hand sanitizer by my tissue box so kids know to sanitize after blowing. We also teach our kids to cough into their elbow or sleeves to help prevent germ spreads.

Sent by Bobbi | 2:59 PM | 1-2-2008

vertualy all mechanics nation wide and most other commition emplyees recive no compensation for sick days and are penalized in terms of no pay that day and other pay cuts if an other employee has to finish a job for them.

Sent by sean adamcik | 3:00 PM | 1-2-2008

As soon as I start to feel bad, I take a 'mental health' day, as a preventative measure. I find that the only thing that realy makes me sick, is too much stress, so taking a day off, is often better than working, and making myself sick for real. By the way, vacation and sick days are combined at my work, so those who don't get stressed out get more vacations than those who let the stress get to them, and call in sick

Sent by Craig | 3:01 PM | 1-2-2008

I teach in a university . . . a petri dish for germs! I can't afford to get sick like the students do, so my first lecture in every class I teach is, "If you have to sneeze or cough, do it in the crook of your elbow and not in your hands!" Society demands that we cover our mouths/noses when coughing or sneezing so we don't spread germs. Why then put the germs on your hands and touch everything?

Sent by Patton | 3:04 PM | 1-2-2008

I was listening to your program today and fuming when I heard Dr. Micheal Smith dismiss Echinacea and Vitamin C...and then actually promote the flu shot! Dr. Smith needs to get his head out of the cloud of Western Medicine ignorance and embrace natural remedies. Just because there isn't enough money to fund studies on simple remedies does not mean they can be dismissed. Unlike cold remedies and antibiotics, these natural remedies work and cause no harmful side effects that are usually found years later.

I am further sickened that he promoted getting a flu shot!!!! A flu shot will do nothing for the common cold or the many other viruses and strains of flu that are NOT covered by the flu shot. Furthermore, the flu strains mutate every year so that the shot given is not necessarily protecting people the way they think they are. Web MD is not what I would consider a good source of HEALTH. It's a good source for pushing drugs and Western Medicine fallicies. Promoting a Web MD doctor on NPR does a disservice to public health. Shame on you.

Sent by Marlene Thompson | 3:04 PM | 1-2-2008

I'm very stubborn when it comes to calling in sick and will usually tough it out, but I got a "great" new year's gift of strep throat and my doctor told me I can't go to work tomorrow because I'm contagious for 24 hours after I begin taking antibiotics. Getting this edict from my doctor makes me wonder about all the times I did go to work not feeling 100%. It wasn't fair and I probably made more than one colleague sick.

Sent by Amy | 4:05 PM | 1-2-2008

Are you contagious? Stay Home!

Are you making a lot of noise? (Coughing, Sneezing, Constantly clearing your throat) Stay at least 2 cubicles away. (I use the phone in my job, I need to be heard by the other party)

And lastly, are you so delirious you are actually better off NOT doing your job today? (You will have to correct way too many mistakes, tommorow)

Sent by Harold | 5:06 PM | 1-2-2008

i really wish i had some of ya'll as boses!haha cuz i work as a teacher asst.with preschoolers,just had tonsils removed back in july due to recovering strep&tonsilitis&colds,my job has(bosses have fits if we take off drs.slip or not!i keep my son home he has asthma and if not with me with his dad job or no job!

Sent by DASHIELL MCCLAIN | 7:59 PM | 1-2-2008

I miss much less work since I started getting the yearly flu shot and got my tonsils removed. As long as I do not have a fever, I go to work. Otherwise I go to work, and if I am not feeling better after about two hours, than I go home.

Sent by Christina | 1:20 PM | 1-11-2008

Support comes from: