The Importance of Staying Home When Sick

Posted: Dec 10th, 2020 at 12:00AM - by Ashlee Arnold/Vice President

Ashlee Arnold

Have you ever had that internal debate of whether or not to power through with your work, school, or errands even when you're not feeling well? Maybe you treat it as a sign of toughness when you're able to just keep pushing, even if you don't feel well.

If this sounds like you, you're not alone. We understand that regardless of how you feel, life goes on. But here's the thing. While your day-to-day responsibilities are important, the smart and responsible thing to do when you're feeling unwell is to stay at home, especially nowadays with the current flu season and COVID-19 pandemic.

It must be noted that not everyone with the flu will have a fever, so you can't count on that to help you determine how sick you are. If you are showing symptoms like body aches, coughing, headache, runny nose, sore throat, or vomiting, you should take a sick day.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying at home for four to five days after the symptoms begin. Likewise, you must stay home until you have fully recovered and have gone at least 24 hours without fever. This is for your safety as well as the people around you.

If you're still unsure as to why you should stay home when you are sick or recovering from an illness, here are five reasons you should consider:

Why You Should Stay Home When You're Sick

1. Stop the Spread of Illness

Research shows that a sick employee can spread germs to about 60% of commonly touched surfaces at work within a few hours, thus increasing the likelihood of the virus to spread. Likewise, the illness can be transmitted to others when you cough, sneeze, or talk.

Another study proves that it only takes one person to spread an infection, which could lead to an outbreak. When you're within a meter of a sick person, the infectious particles easily travel from one person to another, increasing the risk of infection. This then disrupts the workplace, school, and even the community at large as more and more people become sick.

Essentially, by staying at home when you're not feeling well, you limit the risk of spreading the illness to those around you.

But it goes one step further...

2. Protect Vulnerable People

If you spread the germs to your colleagues, schoolmates, or friends, they can pass these to their loved ones or anyone they interact with. In addition, you also transmit the infection to others you come in contact with while commuting, getting coffee, grabbing lunch, or running errands.

People who are younger and generally healthy can often recover relatively quickly. However, if any of these people are infants, elderly, or chronically ill, your shared germs could lead to more serious health complications and even death.

That's why when you feel sick, have flu-like symptoms, or have come in contact with someone who has been sick for the past 14 days, do your part and stay at home to help protect others.

3. Rest and Recover Properly

By going out when you're sick, you could aggravate your health problems and take a much longer time to recover. Thus, it's best to stay at home to give yourself the chance to recuperate.

woman sick in bed under the covers

If you return to your normal routine too soon, it could cause even worse problems to your respiratory and immune systems. Generally, you should remain indoors for at least 24 hours after becoming completely free of the fever without taking any medication.

Likewise, it must be noted that painkillers do not aid recovery but just suppress the symptoms. So, it would be best practice not to continue on with your day-to-day activities, even if it's outdoors, although you may think the painkillers are working. And on a similar note...

4. Protect Yourself From Additional Germs

When you're sick, your body is already in a weakened state. You feel tired and frail, achy and clammy. You're not exactly in the best position to fight off other germs and viruses that you might come into contact with should you decide to leave the house.

Germs that your immune system would normally be able to easily fight off could be more of a threat if you're already ill. The safest bet? Stay home.

5. Prevent Future Sickness

Fever and other flu-like symptoms are your body's way of telling you that something's not right and you need a break. If you don't pay attention to these signs and choose to continue with your daily activities, you won't be efficient, productive, or able to function at full capacity. Worse, you might be ignoring indicators of more serious health issues.

That's why it's essential that you listen to your body and stay home when you're not feeling well. When you rest and recharge, your body rewards you. Getting adequate sleep redirects energy to your immune system, jumpstarting your body's ability to fight the infection and helping you get better quickly.

Plus, resting at home prevents you from exposing yourself to other diseases outside and decreases your risk of future illnesses.

Staying at home when you're sick means you shouldn't go to work, do grocery shopping, go to the gym, or do any other outdoor activities and errands, especially if there will be other people. If you're unsure about what's safe to do and what isn't, consult with your doctor on the best course of action.

If you take a sick day off, be responsible and protect your family by keeping your distance, washing your hands thoroughly multiple times in a day, and disinfecting high touch-point surfaces regularly.

Take control of your health, as well as your family members' and employees' with e7 Health. We offer a wide range of services – from corporate health and student health, to physical exams and laboratory services – to help ensure your overall wellness and well-being. Contact e7 Health to learn more.

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