Sick days: When to stay home

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You’re feeling under the weather, but you don’t want to miss work. What should you do? In some cases, it may be okay to go to work when you’re not feeling 100 percent. But other times, you should make your wellness a priority. These guidelines can help you decide if you’re well enough to work:



The CDC recommends you stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone. This helps minimize the spread of illness to others. You should also skip social gatherings, shopping, and other outings.


Sniffles and sneezing:

Many people simply can’t miss work every time they have a minor cold. Let your symptoms be your guide. If you’re feeling well enough to work and don’t have other symptoms, such as a fever or body aches, you can go to work if necessary. But, if you have fatigue or feel that you won’t be able to safely do your job, consider using sick time.


Vomiting or diarrhea:

Stomach-related illnesses such as norovirus are highly contagious. Even after you stop vomiting, you could get other people sick. If you serve or prepare food as part of your job, the CDC says you should stay home for at least 48 hours after your symptoms stop.


Remember that staying home from work may help you to recover more quickly, as your body needs rest to fight an illness. In addition, staying home will help avoid spreading illness to co-workers, customers, and others you encounter.


Choosing to stay home may also depend on your employer’s sick day policies. Make sure you are familiar with these and abide by them.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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