Sick puppy wrapped in blanket

 When it’s Time to “Chuck a Sickie”

Was it harder to turn your alarm off this morning? When your eyes fluttered open – did you not feel your usual self? On the attempt to breathe in did you find your nose is cemented shut, your throat burns to swallow and your head as heavy as a medicine ball?

Looks like the flu workers have your body under construction.

It’s times like this where you realise how much you take a clear nose for granted and would much rather spend the day horizontal at home – but what about work? It’s been super busy lately and the pressure is on.

Now look down at the tips of your fingers – when you rubbed your eyes this morning did you think before tapping on your phone or held a door handle in your house?

Each time you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, your hands pick up thousands of little germs that spread to any surface you touch.

And that sneeze you forgot to block? Did you know each time you sneeze or cough you release germ filled particles into the air that can reach up to 6 feet!

Sometimes this is unavoidable when you’re experiencing a cold or flu, but what can be avoided is spreading these germs further than your intimate environment.

Before you begin to pack the tissues or medicine and soldier on for work – consider your co-workers – who no doubt would rather you keep those flu builders to yourself.

Fever, sneezing, and coughs are all signs that you could be contagious.

In general, this is a guide for how long you’re contagious with these common illnesses:

Illness When first contagious When no longer contagious
Flu 1 day before symptoms start 5-7 days after you get sick
Cold 1-2 days before symptoms start 2 weeks after being exposed to the virus
Stomach virus Before symptoms start Up to 2 weeks after you’ve recovered

If you decided to chuck the inevitable sick leave, do remember when you return to work you may still be contagious.


These are some steps to protect those around you:

  • wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use anti-bacterial hand gel
  • warn others you’ve been sick so they also remember to use the clean hand’s protocol
  • sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands
  • consider wearing a respiratory mask


When to stay at home:

Consider your symptoms before you call in sick.

If those flu builders have taken a road roller to your body and you can’t move your head without setting off a leaking nose – it’s time to chuck a sickie. Consider this also if your symptoms involve vomiting or diarrhoea.

If you have a mild tickle in your throat or a stuffy nose, you should be able to tackle work.

And remember allergy symptoms are not contagious so they shouldn’t keep you from work.

With winter approaching its time to take care of yourself and others around you. If you become unwell get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, crack out the comfy clothes and wait for symptoms to subside. See your GP if symptoms persist.


Thanks to our friends at SportUNE for this awesome blog!