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6 Things to Have on Hand When You’re Sick at Work

6 Things to Have on Hand When You're Sick at WorkWe all know we shouldn’t go to work when we’re sick. But whether you’re a presidential candidate or have a more typical career, most of us do it anyway. (Note: Here I’m referring to the average Corporette reader with full-time benefits; the millions of Americans without paid sick leave don’t have much choice about whether to stay home and rest.) Maybe you have a conference or special event to attend, a big scheduled presentation to give, or a meeting to lead, and you just can’t avoid being sick at work. We haven’t talked about tips for going to work while ill in quite a while, so we thought it was time to revisit. (Disclaimer: Of course, please don’t take this post as medical advice.)

In the past we’ve also talked about shaking hands when you’re sick, what to do when you think you’re coming down with a cold and ways to get over a coldhow to deal with many medical appointments, and how to explain an embarrassing illness.

First of all, here’s some information from an actual doctor on determining whether you’re too sick for the office. But if you need to go in no matter what, here are six things that can help you handle being sick at work (besides the age-old advice our mothers have given us since we were kids):

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Open Thread: Working while you’re sick

2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on 6 Things to Have on Hand When You’re Sick at Work

When we saw the headline about this — a firmwide memo smacking down an employee who dared to come to work with flu-like symptoms — we were a bit amused. (When we read the memo, we were a bit disgusted — whoever had flu-like symptoms knew he or she would be working in a closed conference room with several others, including a pregnant woman — and we have to agree that it was just as “self-absorbed” as the managing partner said it was.)  But it seems to raise an interesting question:  when you’re forced to work while you’re sick, how do you power through? (Pictured:  Sam the Owl Tissue Box Cozy, $15 from Etsy seller tinsil)

Fun story:  for this post we actually spent a bit of time trying to find authoritative information for you guys on when a cold is contagious — we seem to remember it having something to do with the color of your snot (clear = allergies or cold, yellow or green = contagious) and your temperature (over 100 is bad).  We couldn’t actually find any quick and easy source, but really these days, we’re all just going to come down on the same side, aren’t we?  If you’re sick, work from home.

In any event — even if you’re home in your pajamas, you may not have the luxury of lounging about in bed and watching “Real Housewives” reruns.  You may actually have to work.  If you do, here are some tips…

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Open Thread: How are you dealing with the threat of swine flu?

Here’s something we’re curious about, readers — how are you dealing with the threat of swine flu? We know it sounds super-pleasant.  At the office, are you being encouraged to get a flu shot, and being discouraged from bringing in baked goods? While out networking, are you shaking hands with people, or (like Kathie Lee Gifford) butt-bumping? Personally, what extra steps (if any) are you taking to avoid getting sick?

For our $.02: We’ve never gotten a flu shot, and (as far as we know) have never gotten the flu. (A bad cold two Februarys ago might have qualified, but we didn’t miss a day of work.) Still, we’re trying to be extra-vigilant about the things we normally do to avoid getting sick, such as using hand sanitizer after riding public transportation or shaking hands, taking lots of Emergen-C if we start sneezing, and otherwise getting enough sleep.  What are you doing?

Pictured above: Emergen-C 1000 mg Vitamin C Fizzy Drink Mix, Tangerine Flavored, on sale at Drugstore.com for $9.99 (formerly $12.99) (free shipping on any order over $25).