The Ma­jor­ity Of Amer­i­cans Still Go To Work While Sick

ForbesWeekly - - NEWS - FOL­LOW NIALL MCCARTHY, FORBES CON­TRIB­U­TOR, AT www.forbes.com/sites/niallm­c­carthy FW

Across Amer­i­can work­places, peo­ple are try­ing to con­cen­trate on their tasks amid con­stant cough­ing, splut­ter­ing and snif­fling. That’s the sound of flu sea­son and it’s al­ready mak­ing peo­ple’s lives mis­er­able. The num­ber of in­fluenza cases usu­ally starts creep­ing up in late Novem­ber be­fore peak­ing hugely in Fe­bru­ary. Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion; how­ever, com­mon colds are the main rea­son chil­dren and adults miss school and work, with mil­lions of cases ev­ery year.

In­ter­est­ingly, the ma­jor­ity of sick Amer­i­cans (55%) still drag them­selves out of bed ev­ery morn­ing and go to work any­way, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from NPR, the Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion and Har­vard’s T.H. Chan School of Pub­lic Health. Sixty per­cent of young peo­ple in the 18-29 age bracket ad­mit that they still go to work al­ways or most of the time when they have a cold or the flu, along with 55% of peo­ple aged 30-49. That trend of pri­or­i­tiz­ing work over re­cu­per­a­tion when sick is also ev­i­dent among older peo­ple aged 50-64.

Bro­ken down by in­dus­try, peo­ple in­volved in fac­tory or man­u­fac­tur­ing are most likely to work de­spite be­ing sick; con­struc­tion and out­door work comes sec­ond with 64% of peo­ple cast­ing their hot wa­ter bot­tle and cup of tea to one side. Of­fice work­ers are less likely to go into work plagued with cold and flu symp­toms, but 44% of peo­ple still do it any­way. Sit­ting next to a snort­ing and sneez­ing col­league is cer­tainly un­pleas­ant and un­for­tu­nately all too com­mon.

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