Sometimes, especially during cold and flu season, it might seem as if there’s always a sick person in your office. Unfortunately, you don’t have unlimited sick days.
So, how do you know when it’s time to call off work? It’s important to weigh your options to determine what’s best for you as well as those you’ll come in contact with during the day.
The Complete Guide to Taking a Sick Day
The first step when you wake up in the morning feeling not-so-pleasant is to evaluate your symptoms before calling off work.
When to head to the office
If you’re experiencing one of the following, it’s probably OK to go to work and save your sick day for another time.
- Runny nose, stuffy nose, and/or watery eyes due to allergies.
- Cough due to a cold or allergies (unless accompanied by aching or fever).
- Earache/ear infection.
- Mild to moderate headache.
- Mild common cold.
When to take a sick day
However, if your symptoms worsen or if you experience any of the following, it’s a good idea to call in sick:
- Cough that lasts for more than a week or is deep and makes you short of breath.
- Sinus pain, which may be a sinus infection.
- Migraine headaches.
- Redness and leakage in one or both eyes, which may be pink eye.
Should You Stay Home Sick?
When you have a limited number of sick days at work, it can be tempting to power through your illness.
Key questions to ask yourself
Here are a few things you should consider before you decide to clock in:
- Can you carry out your duties well? If you’re very sick, you may not be able to handle all your responsibilities and functions at work. If that’s the case, it may be best to stay home.
- Will you get better quicker if you take time to rest? People who continue to work at their normal level when sick tend to see worsening symptoms. Resting always helps the body fight off illness and recover faster.
- Will your medicine impair your driving, thinking, and/or working abilities? If so, you should stay home from work.
Editor's Note: This infographic was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .
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