Should you take a sick day? Contagious or ready to return to work? Keep symptoms away from your coworkers!

Feeling sick at work and worried you may still be contagious? Wello has some tips to help you decide if you should take a sick day.

It always happens in the midst of a busy work period. First, you start sneezing uncontrollably, then you can barely keep your stinging eyes open. Next, your head begins to throb.

Yep, you’ve come down with a cold (or flu) at exactly the time when you need to stay sharp and put extra hours into each day. When you’re stressed about work, you can be tempted to pop some cold and flu medication and “soldier-on!”.

But it’s important to also think about your co-workers, and know when to “quarantine you and your germs” from your shared office space. Read on to see when it’s safe to work near others or if you should take a sick day!

Is your nose running heavily? Stay away from the office. If your cold started more than 7 days ago and you no longer have a heavy, faucet-like runny nose, the chances of infecting your co-workers are unlikely.  Don’t hesitate to call Wello for advice on managing cold symptoms, such as a runny nose.

Ugh. We all know how awful it is to have a streaming runny nose – or to be sitting next to someone who has one. Good news is, sniffles will generally improve as a virus leaves your body. But it’s best to stay at home if you have a cold with symptoms such as a heavy, watery runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, and tiredness.

Have a fever? Return to work after you are fever-free for at least 1 day.  

Feeling hot and cold with an elevated temperature is a pretty sure sign that you have germs to share. A fever happens when your immune system responds to the flu virus, causing your body to raise its internal temperature, making it unwelcome for an army of invading microbes. 

Find yourself with a dry cough at work but you don’t have any other symptoms and generally feel ok? You should be ok to return to work. See a Wello Nurse Practitioner if your cough doesn’t go away within 7 days. 

Being overtaken by a phlegmy cough during a meeting is up there in terms of embarrassing work moments. It’s also a very effective way to spread your virus to the people you work with. Depending on the meeting, you have the chance to infect a good cross-section of your organization! But it’s important to remember that a dry cough may persist long after the infectious period has passed.

When you first notice a cough, be sure to cough into a tissue and dispose of it right away. After you cough, it’s also important to immediately wash your hands with soap and water.  Anyone early in their course of illness (first couple of days) that is having bouts or fits of coughing/sneezing is likely infectious and should not be at work.

Diarrhea and vomiting both bothering you?  Return to work 24 hours after diarrhea and vomiting have resolved. 

Diarrhea and vomiting as gastro symptoms can come with influenza, as well as just for gastroenteritis in general. That’s why we recommend avoiding work until it has been resolved for 24 hours. And, when you do return to work, we recommend you use both soap and water with effective handwashing (as this can reduce the risk of infecting others by nearly 50%).

Tips for preventing the spread of germs
If you’re back at work and still have signs of cold or flu, you should keep a healthy distance from your colleagues, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and touch as few surfaces as possible. This also means staying away from any communal food sharing, such as a company potluck luncheon. And, its best to stay away from those shared pitchers of water available at meetings!

Struck with a bothersome bug? Call us!
Wello’s Nurse Practitioners can assess you, organize prescriptions to lessen your symptoms, and advise you on when you should go back to work or take a sick day.

As a Wello member, you can book an appointment at wello.ca, or by sending an email to hello@wello.ca.

Not yet a Wello member? Visit wello.ca to learn how to sign up for one our flexible and affordable plans. Wello is here to help you and your teammates get well and keep well, because healthy individuals and employees do amazing things!

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References:
Wello Nurse Practitioners
CBC, contagious with a cold or flu