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Should You Go to Work or Stay Home When You Are Sick?

A man sick in bed.If you wake up with a cold, stomach ache, or fever, you have to make a choice: stay home and rest or tough it out and go to work. At least 25 percent of Americans go to work even if they are sick. The most common reasons for doing so are because they are concerned about having too much work when they return if they take a day off and because they cannot afford to take an unpaid sick day. In some cases, it is better to stay home and rest, even if it means having a heavier workload later or missing out on some money.

You are most contagious in the first days of an illness. When you feel yourself getting sick, it can be in your best interest and that of your coworkers for you to stay home and rest. This can prevent you from infecting others and shorten the duration of your illness.

If you have a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you should stay home and rest. A fever is a sign that something is wrong and your body is trying to fight off an infection. Do not go to work until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.

If you go to work when you are sick, it will most likely take a toll on your productivity and may make you do poor quality work. Consider how much you could realistically get done while you are sick and whether your work would be up to par. It might be better to stay home and complete your work when you are feeling better.

After having mild to moderate symptoms for a few days, you should start to improve. If you do not, consider seeing your doctor.

If you go to the doctor and get medication, that does not necessarily mean you should return to work. Medication can have side effects, such as drowsiness, that can interfere with your ability to do your job.