Do you think you are coming down with the health symptoms of the flu or a cold? Are you wondering if you are contagious and should you go to work?
When Should You Stay Home?
It is recommended by the Center for Disease Control that if you are sick (and especially if it is during the flu season) stay at HOME.
When you have a fever, it is an indicator that you have a systemic illness, not localized. A cold is your throat and nose, so it is localized. Fever is rare if you have a cold. The Flu makes you feel like you are dying and you hurt everywhere.
Another reason to stay at home is if you have red or draining eyes. It could indicate pink eye, very contagious infection of the eye. Think about the illness, will it prevent you from doing your job and can you infect anyone else? If you answer yes to either one, stay home.
So, How Long Should I Stay On The Bench?
What if you got sick on Friday and stayed in bed the entire weekend and by Sunday evening you were feeling better. You may be thinking that by Monday you are ready to go back to work, but are you?
The priority for you is to not return to your job until you have no fever for 24 hours. It does not count keeping your fever down by using medications. It does not count. If you are taking something like Tylenol, you can still be shedding the germs to everyone.
Most adults are contagious and can infect others with flu germs the day before symptoms start to develop, and then up to seven days after they first get sick. To say it simply, your probably contagious before you even know you are going to be sick, while you are sick, and then after you think you are well. So, if you are in doubt, sit it out.
What If Not Working Is Not An Option?
If there is no other way and you must be at work, keep your distance from everyone. It is called social distancing, but it is just a strategy, and there could still be a community-wide flu pandemic. Use the flu-avoiding rules and apply them stringently. Wear a mask all the time you are at work, wash your hands constantly.
If you feel bad at work, stay in your office, AWAY from other people. If you must meet with others, sit at the end of the table away from the others.
Do not shake hands, do not go to the break room, replace those in-person meetings with a teleconference, reschedule any non-essential travel. If possible, work from home.
Preventing The Flu
Here are some steps to prevent the flu:
- Get the flu vaccine every year
- Practice excellent hand hygiene. Soap and water to scrub hands for 20 seconds.
- Sneeze or cough in tissue and discard the tissue immediately.
- Clean the areas that are the most germ-infested. The areas where people congregate the most.
- Keep yourself healthy and do not get run down. Stay away from sick people.
If you do get sick, we are here to help you at Community Health 1st ER.