seasonal illnesses such as the flu threatening to sideline everyone
from electricians to schoolteachers, some members of the workforce
decide to tough it out at the office rather than sleep it off at home.
fact, a survey sponsored by the Cincinnati-based Cintas Corp. - a
provider of work uniforms, restroom supplies and firstaid and safety
products - found that 84 percent of employed adults have gone to work
A press release accompanying the survey even gave a name to the phenomenon - "presenteeism."
Jeffrey Hill, who specializes in occupational medicine at Adena Medical
Center, said seasonal influenza poses the greatest threat this time of
year. The best defense against it, he said, is a flu shot. However, he
stressed that no immunization is 100 percent effective.
the flu include high fever, coughing, sore throat and body aches. Very
few people get all of the symptoms associated with the virus, Hill said.
said anyone with a fever of 101 degrees or higher should avoid going to
work until at least 24 hours after the fever has broken. But he's also a
realist. Although he wishes they wouldn't, he knows there are people
who will decide to go to work anyway.
"I think most of us think
we're more important (at work) than we really are," Hill said. "You have
to look at your overall effectiveness while you're ill and on
Hill recommended wearing a surgical mask and frequent
hand-washing with alcohol-based sanitizer as ways to reduce the spread
of germs in the workplace. Echoing the recommendations of the Ross
County Health District, he suggested workers clean office equipment such
as computer keyboards, mouses and telephones.
If a job is
conducive to it, working from home is a way an employee can be "somewhat
effective and not expose their co-workers" to illness, Hill said.
employers really don't want to see employees missing work, it makes a
lot more sense to allow a sick person to stay home than to encourage
them to come to work where they can make others sick," said Rami Yoakum,
communications director for the Ross County Health District.
Staying home from work means staying home, period, Hill said.
"If you're too sick to go to work, you're probably too sick to go to the mall," he said.