No one wants to use up a sick day. But when faced with the dilemma of staying or going, make an educated decision. Here’s what you need to know.
We bet you crossed paths with someone who was coughing, sneezing, sniffling or doing all of the above over the holidays. And, guess what, we’re just getting started with flu season!
Work places, schools and public areas are breeding grounds for viruses — colds, flu and respiratory illnesses. We get it — no one wants to use up a sick day. But when faced with the dilemma of staying or going, make an educated decision. Here’s what you need to know:
First, let’s look at the flu.
“You can start spreading the flu virus to other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and five to seven days after becoming sick,” said Michele Fass, M.D., family medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Shepherdsville. “And children can be considered contagious for more than seven days after becoming sick.”
According to Dr. Fass, treating the flu is all about timing. An antiviral medication, such as Tamiflu, is most effective if started within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. If you have flu symptoms, see your physician or visit a Norton Immediate Care Center as quickly as possible.
Stay home or go out?
- Don’t go out until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine.
- If coughing, sneezing or runny nose are severe enough to interfere with your work, then you need to stay home.
- Getting plenty of rest will help you get better faster, so help your body heal by staying home as long as you can.
- If you’re coughing and sneezing, you still can spread germs to others.
“Viruses travel through droplets in coughs, sneezes, saliva and mucus, which can get on your hands or body and be transferred on things you touch,” Dr. Fass said.
One of the best things you can do to combat the spread of viruses and other germs is to wash your hands properly and frequently. And it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The flu vaccine can be administered any time of year.