Why You Shouldn't Work When You Are Sick: Five Reasons to Stay Home for the Good of All Mankind

Despite being an annoyance to their healthy colleagues, many sick people often show up to work. According to a survey by public health organization NSF, about one-quarter of Americans show up to work despite not feeling well. And men do it more than women, with 33 percent of guys saying they always go to work ill while only 17 percent of women always go to work sick.

Related: Your Bad Bosses Are Killing Themselves, New Study Finds 

The main reason people go to work when they should be staying home is due to pressure at work. The survey found that roughly 25 percent felt their bosses wanted them at work no matter the situation. A small portion, 13 percent, just don’t trust that their colleagues will keep things running smoothly in their absence.

11_14_2017_Office About a quarter of Americans report going to work while sick. TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

And then there are people who really should stay at home because going to work sick could be a public health concern, notably those working in restaurants and hospitals. A survey from NPR found that half of the people with these professions showed up to work with the cold or flu. Gross.

Of course, people who go to work sick likely aren’t doing it for selfish reasons. Some people lack paid sick time, for example. However, if you've got the time off and you need to be convinced, here are five reasons you should stay at home if you get sick this flu season.

Viruses Run Rampant in Offices
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu can be spread to your coworkers who are sitting up to six feet away. The virus is transported through droplets from sneezing, coughing and talking, and float through the air to lodge themselves in your cubicle neighbor's lungs. Aside from airborne transmission, the flu virus can also be transported through sharing common office items, like a microwave or copier, as well as restroom doors. So even if you’re quarantined away at your desk, the chances you’ll get someone else sick are pretty good.

You’ll Get Sick More Frequently
Overexerting yourself during a bout of the cold or flu can further weaken your immune system. But one study indicated that going to work sick could even impact how often you get sick later. A study from 2009 found that people who went to work ill more than six times a year had a 74-percent higher chance of being absent due to a long-term illness later on.

11_14_2017_flu Doctors say the flu shot is the best way to prevent getting the infection. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It Costs Your Company Money
Of course the work you do when sick just isn’t going to be the same as when you’re healthy. A study from Queens University in Canada showed that companies pay double in productivity losses when workers come to work sick, reports Canada’s The Globe and Mail.

It Could Put Other People's Health at Risk
The flu is generally safe for most adults, but the virus can be deadly for those with weakened immune systems, the elderly or young children. According to the CDC, more than 300,000 people were hospitalized during the 2015-2016 flu season. 

Your Body Needs to Rest
It's normal to feel fatigued when you're sick, and a study from the University of Pennsylvania earlier this year showed why. Essentially, your cells are stressed out and your body's feelings of fatigue are a sign that you need to sleep and recover. Staying at home binge watching your favorite shows in bed could be just the medicine you need. 

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