How to tell if you're too sick to go to school or work

How to tell if you're too sick to go to school or work
How to tell if you're too sick to go to school or work

Sometimes it is difficult to know whether or not to take a day off from work or school. On the one hand, you don't feel well and you don't want other people around you to get sick, but on the other hand, you definitely have a lot to do. To make the right decision, you must not only recognize the signs of a contagious disease, but also understand the guidelines announced by government agencies and health organizations. Finally, if you go to school or work sick, there are some things you can do to avoid infecting those around you.


Part 1 of 3: Recognize the symptoms of a contagious disease

Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 1

Step 1. Stay in bed if you have a fever

If you have a fever over 38 ° C, you should stay home and not go to school or work until your temperature has returned to normal (37 ° C) within 24 time. Taking medicine to lower the temperature doesn't count - you're still sick and potentially contagious.

  • A baby with a temperature over 38 ° C should be taken immediately to the emergency room.
  • The high temperature may be accompanied by periods of sweating or a cold.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 2

Step 2. Stay home if you have a strong cough

A cough that seems to come from deep in your lungs is a sign of a serious infection. Do not go to school or work and contact your doctor to see if they can solve your problem.

  • A mild cough is often due to a cold or an allergy. At the same time, your nose may be blocked or runny, and you may sneeze often. If these manifestations are not a problem and there are no other symptoms, you can continue with your routine.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands frequently. This will limit the risk of germ transmission.
  • If you have breathing problems during coughing attacks, go to the hospital for an emergency check-up.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 3

Step 3. Do not go to work or school if you are vomiting

Stay away from others as long as you continue to vomit and the doctor tells you there is still a risk of infection.

  • Try to cool down by drinking plenty of water. If you can't get a glass of water, suck on ice cubes. The water will be absorbed more slowly and will be easier to store.
  • If you are unable to drink water and are at risk of severe dehydration, you must go to the hospital. You will be rehydrated intravenously if necessary. Symptoms of dehydration are fatigue, headaches, infrequent urination, urine turning black to gray, and crying without tears.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 4

Step 4. Take a day off if you have diarrhea

Loose or watery stools are often a sign of an infection. Stay near the toilet and don't go to work or school until you feel better.

  • If the diarrhea is due to a meal or medicine, it is not contagious. You do not need to stay home in this case, especially if you feel strong enough to carry out your daily tasks.
  • If you have diarrhea, there is a good chance that you will lose a lot of fluid. Drink enough to replenish your water. Drink even if you are not thirsty.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 5

Step 5. Stay Home

Stay home and see a doctor if you have any strange pimples. If you have pimples causing wounds with flowing fluid or a rash that quickly spreads on the body, you should call your doctor. Do not go to work or school until the doctor tells you if it is contagious or not.?

  • Pimples caused by an allergy are not contagious. If your symptoms don't prevent you from thinking or concentrating, you can go to school or work.
  • For mild rashes, you can go to school or work if the affected skin areas are protected. Ask the school nurse or doctor for advice to be sure.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 6

Step 6. Do not infect others

If you just have a cold, chances are you don't need to stay home. In the event that your condition does not require rest, a few simple precautions can be taken to protect others. You have to:

  • wash your hands often
  • avoiding shaking hands or hugging your friends
  • avoiding sharing food or drinks with others
  • avoid turning to others when you cough or sneeze, but instead consider coughing or sneezing into the crease of your elbow
  • use tissues in case of a runny nose.

Part 2 of 3: Guidelines for childhood illnesses

Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 7

Step 1. Keep your child at home if he has an illness that requires a vaccine

If your child comes into contact with other children who have not been vaccinated or have weakened immune systems, they may be put at risk. Wait for permission from the doctor to send him back to school. The diseases requiring a vaccine are listed below.

  • Measles. Measles shows up as red sores with other symptoms similar to a cold. The infected person is contagious four days before the onset of pimples and for the first four days afterwards. Wait for the doctor's permission to send your child back to school.
  • Mumps. Mumps is characterized by flu-like symptoms and swollen salivary glands. You should refer to the doctor's and school officials' recommendations for how long to keep your child at home.
  • Rubella. It has flu-like symptoms in addition to pink rashes. In pregnant women, it can cause birth defects in the unborn baby. Ask your doctor and the school nurse when the child can return to school.
  • Whooping cough. The symptoms of this disease are similar to those of the flu and the common cold. However, whooping cough is also accompanied by severe coughing which makes it difficult to breathe. Ask your doctor and school nurse how long your child will be contagious.
  • Chickenpox. This disease manifests itself with flu-like symptoms and red, fluid-filled pimples. An infected person is contagious two days before pimples appear and as long as they have not developed into scabs. Ask your doctor when it will be possible to send your child back to school.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 8

Step 2. Keep your child home if they have pink eye

Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, is an infection that makes the eyes red with a sticky, yellowish, and greenish discharge.

  • Because of the irritation, children often scratch their eyes before touching other people or common toys. The infection is therefore very contagious.
  • From the start of treatment, your child can return to school if the doctor considers that there is no longer a risk of infection.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 9

Step 3. Keep your child at home if he has impetigo

If your doctor diagnoses your child with impetigo, you should keep it at home the day after the diagnosis. However, he may return to school as soon as an appropriate treatment is prescribed and if the doctor authorizes him to do so.

  • Impetigo is an infection that causes pustules to appear on the skin. Fluid may leak from the pustules which are sometimes covered with scabs. Affected areas should be protected before the child leaves school.
  • Impetigo can be caused by strep, staphylococcus, or MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 10

Step 4. Keep your child home if he has a strep infection

This infection is characterized by pain in the throat. Take your child to the doctor immediately, as he will need antibiotics.

  • Your child will feel better and can return to school after 24 hours of taking antibiotics.
  • Ask your doctor for advice on what to recommend.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 11

Step 5. Do not send your child to school if he has hepatitis A

Keep it at home for a week. Hepatitis A is a very contagious infection of the liver. It can cause nausea, vomiting, liver pain, joint pain, dark urine, orange stools, and yellow eyes and skin. If you think your child has hepatitis A, take him to a doctor straight away.

If your child doesn't feel better after a week, you will need to keep him or her home a little longer

Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 12

Step 6. See a doctor

See a doctor if your child has ear pain or has fluid leaking from it. If the pain is due to an infection, your child will need antibiotics.

  • Your child may not be able to concentrate or learn well as long as their ears are hurting. Let him stay home until he feels better.
  • Ear pain is caused by viral or bacterial infections. If left untreated, they can lead to hearing loss.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 13

Step 7. Send your child to school

Your child can go back to school if treatment for most of the other infections has started. Ask your pediatrician or school nurse for advice. The child can attend class or return to nursery if they have any of the infections listed below.

  • Scabies. This disease is caused by a parasite that lives and lays eggs under the skin. It causes redness, furrows under the skin and intense itching. She is very contagious. Consult your doctor for medication to get rid of this disease.
  • Lice. Lice are parasites that live and lay eggs in the hair. They are responsible for itching, but do not cause serious problems. Their eggs should be gently removed with a fine-toothed comb. If necessary, you can keep your child at home for a day or two for treatment. Pharmaceutical shampoos are available by prescription and over the counter.
  • Ringworm. Ringworm is an irritating fungal infection with characteristic redness. Take your child to the doctor to see if he needs antifungal treatment. The infected area should be protected upon returning to school.
  • The 5th disease. This condition not only causes flu-like symptoms, but also redness on the face and other parts of the body towards the end of the infection. Because of the redness that appears on the cheeks, 5th disease is called slapped cheek syndrome. Once the irritation is visible, your child is no longer contagious. He will still need to see a doctor to see if he has sickle cell anemia or a weakened immune system. 5th disease is dangerous for unborn babies exposed to it.
  • Foot-and-mouth disease. This disease manifests as painful blisters in the mouth and redness on the hands as well as the feet. It can cause fever and sore throat. If the child is drooling and has mouth ulcers, he should stay home.

Part 3 of 3: Prevent the spread of disease

Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 14

Step 1. Stay away from others if you are sick

If you have to go to school or work when you are sick, you can reduce the risk of infection by keeping your distance. You can:

  • avoid giving hugs. If necessary, explain to those around you that you are not feeling well and that you do not want to infect them. They will certainly understand your decision to stay away from them,
  • avoid leaning over people you are talking to or looking over their shoulders when they are in front of their computer,
  • wear a face mask so you don't accidentally cough or sneeze on others,
  • minimize the number of handshakes.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 15

Step 2. Cover your mouth

Put your hand in front of your mouth when you cough or sneeze. This will prevent you from sprinkling saliva containing germs on your surroundings and common areas.

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue and throw it away. Even if the handkerchief looks clean, it may already be covered in germs.
  • If you don't have a tissue, consider sneezing or coughing into the crease of your elbow, not your hand. Even if you spread germs on your clothes, the crease in your elbow is less likely to come in contact with other people or common surfaces than your hand.
  • If you cough or sneeze uncontrollably, wear a face shield.
  • Wipe down the surfaces you touched with a disinfectant wipe: tables, desks, computer keyboards and doorknobs.
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 16

Step 3. Wash your hands

Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Do this before preparing meals, when leaving the toilet, after sneezing or coughing, and before looking after or touching loved ones. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States advocates the following measures.

  • Rinse your hands under running water. Then turn off the tap to save water.
  • Use soap to put lather on the hands. You should have a film of soap all over your hand: the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Vigorously rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse off all the soap and germs with clean water.
  • Dry your hands in the open air or with a clean towel. You don't need to wash your hands if you want to dry yourself off with a dirty towel!
Know if You're Too Sick to Go to Work or School Step 17

Step 4. See a doctor

Go to the doctor if you have any signs of a serious infection or a complication. If you or your child has certain symptoms, you will need to see a doctor.

  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Bruises on the skin.
  • Dehydration.
  • Lack of reaction or difficulty waking up.
  • Extreme irritability.
  • Fever. For young children, seek medical advice even if their temperature remains below 38 ° C. Do the same for newborns with a normal temperature.
  • A feverish state for more than three days.
  • Fever with pimples.
  • Flu symptoms that go away and come back with fever and cough.
  • Pain in the abdomen or chest.
  • Pressure in the abdomen or chest.
  • Dizziness.
  • A feeling of confusion.
  • Severe vomiting.
  • Apathy.
  • Severe pain in the head or throat.


  • If your child is sick, ask your pediatrician for advice.
  • Follow doctor's recommendations before taking any medication.
  • If you are pregnant or caring for a child, ask your doctor for advice before taking / giving any medicine or home remedy.
  • If you are already taking any other medicines, talk to your doctor before taking any other medicines, including prescription products or home remedies. There is always a risk of interaction.
  • If you come into contact with vulnerable populations at work or at school, it is important that you stay home if you are sick. By vulnerable population, include: children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or other health problems.

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