Sick Co-workers

posted 12 months ago in Wellness
Post # 2
4559 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

karkar1234 :  if they’re coughing all day and you’re sitting at a desk, I would seriously wear one of those masks, although THEY should be. Just tell em you don’t want to get sick.

Post # 3
2917 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

karkar1234 :  Is there like a conference room, or somewhere that you can work away from them? 



Post # 4
47182 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

lifeisbeeutiful :  Those paper masks only work for about 20 minutes until they are damp. Then they actually increase transmission as the moisture facilitates movement of viruses.

OP- the only thing you can do is wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your face. Consider working with the other employees to get the employer to increase paid sick time so people don’t have to come to work sick. There’s all sorts of data available to demonstrate how efficiency and productivity is increased when employers pay sick people to stay home.

Post # 5
1 posts


Post # 6
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Perhaps you could raise with management that not having proper paid sick leave that is distinct from paid annual leave means people come to work when they are ill and spread germs around making everyone else sick … 

in the mean time just keep up the hand washing and hygiene and hope you don’t catch it. Chances are you will, in which case stock up on the lemsip and get ready to infect your colleagues 

Post # 7
7466 posts
Busy Beekeeper

julies1949 :  this. I think that’s often a problem when PTO is one pot rather than separate sick and vacation days. People don’t want to use their “vacation” for “sick” time even though it is designed to cover all of it. 

OP also see if your work will allow mildly sick people to WFH. I’ve done that a few times – I’m well enough to work and be productive, but I don’t want to cough and drip snot on everyone else. 

Post # 8
506 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Ooh! Pick me!

Background: I teach college biology, and I’m knee-deep in student illness during cold and flu season. I have never taken a sick day from teaching in almost 4 years, except for one that was a kidney infection and not an actual cold or flu.

Here’s my advice:

1) Vitamin C is fine and dandy, and I used to take Airborne all the time. It upsets my stomach now, so I just try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

2) Get lots of sleep! Aim for that 8 hours. It’s good for your immune system.

3) Do not touch your face. Ever. No matter what. Especially at the office. The mucus membranes in your mouth, around your eyes, and in your nose are gateways for germs to enter the body, and so many people subconsciously scratch at their eyes, bite their nails, etc. Break yourself of that habit now. Cold and flu viruses live on so many surfaces that people touch, such as door knobs, countertops, light switches, etc.

4) Wash your hands! It should be common sense, but use soap and warm water, scrub for 20 seconds (Sing Happy Birthday to yourself for timing purposes), and rinse. Do not use air dryers. Studies have shown that they breed bacteria and blow bacteria from the floor into the air of public restrooms (gross, I know…). Use paper towels to turn off faucets and open doors. I always wash my hands before eating and literally will touch nothing other than my food to avoid cross-contamination.

5) Hands-off the cell phone or computer when eating! I taught a biology lab where students grew bacteria on petri dishes that they sampled from common household surfaces, and the cultures from cell phones were waaaaaay more disgusting than toilet seats or anything else. The problem is that people hardly every clean their cell phones, but how many times do you see people take their phones with them into the bathroom, leave them on tables and communal surfaces, etc.? People also love to multi-task when eating or at a restaurant and check their phones will at dinner or eating at their desks. Don’t do it! If I’m at dinner with my husband, the phone goes away and stays away until we’re finished eating. 

6) Wash your hair after being around sick people. I’m not sure if this has any scientific merit, but my mom told me of a teacher she knew that never got sick even when around a bunch of sick kids because she washed her hair every day. It makes sense to me that germs could stick to your hair and then get transferred to your pillow while you’re sleeping, so I try to wash my hair a bit more frequently during cold and flu season, especially if I’ve been in a lab teaching all day with students coughing and clearly sick.

7) Get your flu shot! I’ve been getting a flu shot every year since high school, and I’ve never gotten the flu. Even last year, when it didn’t work well, I still didn’t get the flu, and hubby had both strains of flu AND strep during that season. It was horrible. Even some protection is better than no protection, as long as you don’t have any medical reasons that disqualify you from getting the shot.

So far my overly paranoid strategy has worked! I HATE being sick, so I’m probably a bit more neurotic about germs than most folks. Best of luck staying well!

Post # 9
400 posts
Helper bee

I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk and use it frequently. I used to catch every cold that went around, but since I started using hand sanitizer on a regular basis, I haven’t gotten sick once! Luckily I work in an office where everyone is encouraged to work from home when they’re sick. In fact, the president of our company just gave us that lecture last week, reminding everyone to stay home if they have a cold.

Post # 11
4814 posts
Honey bee

At our work if you’re really sick they will send you home. It is awful to spread germs. People like me with asthma and lower immunity get sicker and stay sicker longer. I think it’s a dick move to come in like that. 

Anyhow. Everyone has great ideas. EmergenC don’t touch face and washing hands is pretty excellent advice. 

  • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  sweatergal007.
Post # 12
4559 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

And apparently Doterra ‘onguard’ or young living ‘thieves’ guard against viruses and bacteria and work really well, you can add a few drops into a diffuser at work. You can also make your own blend.

I read in readers digest one time that if you cut an onion in half and leave it out it absorbs all bacteria/viruses etc. That’s the stinky option and probably has no credibility. 

Post # 13
3093 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

Seconding (or thirding?) that PTO instead of separate sick and vacation days is bullshit and does nothing but encourage people to come into work when they’re sick. Ugh.

Honestly, I think this warrants a chat with HR. Let them know there is an ongoing issue with people coming in when they are clearly sick. There have been studies that show that “presenteeism” has a much more negative effect on overall productivity than “absenteeism” – remind them of that. 

At the very least, HR should be telling people to go home who decide to show up sick. They should review the whole PTO lumped together thing as well though.

At my work we get 15 paid vacation days plus 5 paid personal days, which we are expected to use for illness, Dr’s appointments, mental health days, etc.

Post # 14
3093 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

lifeisbeeutiful :  Just a heads up – I used DoTerra OnGuard beadlets a couple of times and they fucked my guts up so bad. They are the only thing that changed about my diet before suddenly I was having all kinds of gastro issues and food sensitivities. I can’t be sure it’s related, but it’s hard to believe it’s a coincidence.

I’m sure the sprays / diffused oil blends are fine. Just don’t consume EOs. Ever.

I know you didn’t say the beadlets, I just wanted to add that.

EOs are amazing and I love them, but the MLM zombies telling you to consume them are idiots and please don’t be an idiot like me and actually listen to them. 

Post # 15
1639 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

I hate when people come into work sick. Because it’s super inconsiderate. 

One time a sick coworker came over to my desk, used my pen (without asking) and put it back. I was SO MAD. 

People just don’t understand how germs are spread. 

I make sure I wash my hands before touching my face and after touching every -public- surface and I also open doors with my foot and stuff like that.

Luckily at our place we have automatic doors, sinks, toilets and dryers so it really cuts down on the amount of germs being spread. 

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