Flu season seems to be at its worst here in Michigan. Influenza is a common viral infection that spreads easily. It is usually self-treatable through rest, fever reducing medicines and hydration, but in some cases, it is deadly. Yes, deadly. That is why we need to take the flu seriously when considering whether to go to work.

Flu attacks the lungs, the nose and throat and leaves you with chills, muscle aches, fever, cough, headaches, fatigue and more. It spreads in the air through droplets, by skin-to skin contact, saliva, or touching a contaminated surface.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you even show symptoms, as well as while you are sick. People with the flu are most contagious three to four days after the illness begins. For those with compromised immune systems, that time span could be even longer.

It’s not always easy to know whether you are sick enough to stay home; but flu like symptoms, especially a fever, are red alerts.

The CDC says in most cases you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

Emergency signs of the flu for adults include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

The deadlines, the reports and the responsibilities can wait. The best way not to spread the flu is to stay away from others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Don’t forget to be vigilant about regular hand washing.

Trust us, the boss and your co-workers will get over your absence. Put the guilt away and put your feet up. Rest, hydrate, repeat. And, get well soon!

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