The tail end of winter is most commonly known as cold and flu season. Why? It’s the time of year people most often get sick with colds and flus. And while many suffer from these mild illnesses, they decide to still go about their normal workdays as if they’re fine. But is this the best possible choice for people to make while they’re sick?
Wency Leung of the Globe and Mail published a story that looked at certain statistics pertaining to people going to work while sick. What she found was that while many people decided to continue working while sick, their co-workers didn’t appreciate potentially being exposed to cold and flu bugs.
“Fifty-seven per cent said they feared being exposed to their sick colleagues, and 29 per cent said they were concerned about their ill co-workers’ well-being, compared with 11 per cent who said they would be impressed with them for working while unwell.”
While the drive to look committed to your work may seem appealing in your own mind, how continuing to work while you’re sick looks to others is a completely different story. In fact, Leung’s article also cites research that says that working while sick can be counter-productive. When you’re sick, nothing works 100 per cent: your body is sore, you don’t think as straight, and you become tired very easily.
Between not working to the high standard you and your employer are used to, potentially exposing co-workers and clients to your cold and flu, and potentially making your bug worse by not resting and relaxing (the most common and effective way to battle colds and flus), is working while sick really worth it?
In the case of natural health professionals, it can be difficult to try and take a sick day. Many are self-employed and depend on every appointment they have each day. It’s hard to cancel appointments and try to reschedule. But, more often than not, your clients will appreciate you rescheduling to make sure you’re not compromising their health.
Natural health services can be close and many are based on a direct touch to the soft-tissue (skin, muscle, etc.), the chances of spreading cold and flu viruses to clients are very high. And a client is a lot more likely to be upset with you for making them sick than for rescheduling an appointment.
If you have to keep your appointment while you’re sick, there are a few things you can do to help prevent the spread of infection, though none of these techniques will guarantee full protection of your client from any viruses you’re carrying while sick.
First, wash your hands often. Every time you cough, sneeze, touch your face, wipe your nose, or get any fluids (saliva, sweat, etc.) on your hands, wash them. Be sure to use soap and follow up your washing with rub-in hand sanitizer.
Second, if you’re about to cough or sneeze, always have a towel handy to cover your mouth with. And, if possible, wash your hands immediately after.
Lastly, wear protective garments. This can include sanitary masks and gloves. Health care professionals often use these, even when they aren’t sick, to help stop the spread of infection while they work.
The first recommendation always is to stay home and rest if you are sick. This is the most sure fire way to ensure you get healthy quickly, you protect others from the spread of infection, and your work does not suffer form your ailment. The quicker you get better, the quicker you can get back to work and performing with the high-standard of professionalism a member of the NHPC is expected to have. You’ll feel better, your clients will be grateful for taking their health into consideration, and you won’t run the risk of giving a sub-par treatment.
But, if taking a sick day isn’t an option, be sure to take every extra step possible to help stop the spread of infection and protect your clients from suffering from the same virus that you’re battling. Make sure to ask your client if they mind that you have a cold. Always be transparent about your health and let your clients decide.
Take care of yourself first. You can’t help people as well if you’re sick. Think of it like the oxygen masks on an airplane: you always put on your own before helping with someone else’s in your care.
Your blogger handing you a tissue and telling you to get some rest,