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Don’t Report To Work Even When Slightly Sick, Says Arizona Professor

Oct 16, 2013 09:42 AM EDT

Employees who sincerely report to office even when they are slightly unwell (coughing and spluttering) can damage their own health and other healthy employees' well-being too.

Dr Charles Gerba, a leading microbiologist and a professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona, has urged employees to rest at home even when their infection is in the initial stages. They not only risk passing on the disease to their co-workers but also fail to perform efficiently.

"The flu costs about $7 billion a year in sick days and lost productivity," Gerba told WSAW. "The indirect costs such as missed work and reduced productivity are even greater -- studies have shown that sick workers on the job costs the U.S. economy $180 billion a year in profits and lost productivity."

Gerba said that when a person starts to feel the symptoms, they are most likely to be infectious.

"Germs can be spread throughout the workplace and elsewhere when people touch hot spot that have been contaminated by people who are ill," said Gerba, a paid spokesperson for Kimberly-Clark Professional in an official statement. "That's why individual efforts can make such a big difference. If you stay home when you're sick, you won't be passing your germs around the break room and other places."

Gerba stated that even though medications can make a person feel better, it does not improve the work quality.

In a recent study conducted by Kimberly-Clark Professional, it was revealed that around 59 percent of professionals head to work even though they are sick.

This study also found that men from the Midwest and the Northeast were more likely to go to work when they were sick. Women aged 65 and above, who live in the West, were more likely to stay at home.

The survey of more than 1,000 people also found that three out of 10 people preferred going to work when sick because they play an important role in functioning of the company. One in five said that they go to work because they had to complete several unfinished business.

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