Most people — 90%, according to one survey — say they go to the office when they have a cold or the flu. It can be tempting to drag yourself into the office when you have limited sick days. Still, if your illness is contagious, staying home is best for your health and co-workers.
Are you uncertain how to know for sure? Rajesh B. Dave, MD, of Gulf West Medical Associates in Port Richey, Florida, explains how to tell if you’re too sick for work.
If you have a mild tickle in your throat or maybe the sniffles, but you're not achy or feverish and feel fine otherwise, you likely have allergies. It's OK to go to work when you have allergies, which you can manage with over-the-counter medicines.
Deciphering your symptoms
Learning what your symptoms typically mean can give you an idea of what to expect.
A runny nose
If your runny nose is not due to allergies, you likely have a cold, which can quickly spread throughout an office or other workplace.
Flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms
The flu, colds, and COVID-19 are spread through the air, by close contact, or contaminated surfaces. If you have a positive COVID-19 test or cold or flu symptoms, do yourself and your co-workers a favor and stay home.
Flu symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Muscle or body aches
Not everybody with the flu has a fever, but if you have other flu symptoms, keep them to yourself and stay home.
If your temperature is above 100℉, you likely have a contagious illness and
shouldn’t go to work. Stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Ear infections aren't contagious. But if you have cold symptoms and an earache, you might spread it to someone else during the first 2-3 days. Book an appointment with Dr. Dave. You may need antibiotics.
How long am I contagious?
You’re the most contagious when you feel the worst, generally during the second and third days of symptoms. The contagious period for the flu begins about one day before symptoms start and can last 5-7 days from when you first felt sick.
Staying home and resting when you’re sick is an essential part of getting better and preventing the further spread of illness.
If you’re suffering from the flu, COVID-19, or other illnesses this winter, book an appointment with Dr. Dave of Gulf West Medical Associates. Call 727-848-0247 or use our request an appointment using online booking today.