You’ve heard of absenteeism, right? We all know there are people out there (not us, of course!) who miss work for reasons that are less than legit.

However, apparently there is a new epidemic out there being referred to as “presenteeism”: employees who insist on showing up for work when they shouldn’t, especially when bearing contagious illnesses. It comes as no surprise to me that a recent survey shows that 46% of women feel guilty taking a sick day, when they’re actually ill. (And the men? Only 25% feel guilty!)

Of course we all need to do what we can to stay healthy in the first place: eat right, get enough sleep, wash our hands, and stay immunized, including the seasonal flu shot which is available from a pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart (no appointment needed).

If you do get sick, there are two important reasons to take a sick day:

  1. To take care of yourself and get better (especially if you can’t do your job at 100% anyway)
  2. To make sure you’re not spreading your germs to people at work

Now, the world would stop turning if everyone with the sniffles stayed home (including students – as much as some parents worry about that). I used to save cold medications for night-time (with sleep being a priority) but now find that some great daytime pills can help me get through a minor cold without missing any work. When I got pleurisy last December (yes, for real) I took an unheard of for me two days off in a row to get to the doctor and deal with the pain…but if I had stayed home until the twinges stopped completely it would have been May! Since it wasn’t contagious and the pain was managed, off I went.

That said, there are a lot of germs that we want to protect our coworkers (and possible clients/customers/students/etc.) from contracting, especially because you never know who may be more vulnerable due to other conditions (note that some people can’t be vaccinated), or because they are pregnant or elderly. Doctors recommend a period at home on antibiotics for contagious illnesses like strep throat and pinkeye, and it’s always advisable to wait until symptoms of a stomach bug are gone before returning to work (vomiting and diarrhea are not the kind of holiday office gifts anyone wants to receive).

The flu can also hit hard and have you feeling ill for two weeks! The good news is that getting your flu shot may protect you from 70-90% of strains. A fever of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit is a sign of the flu, along with body aches and chills. If you get the flu, stay home and take some time to recover so you don’t spread the disease to your colleagues at work.



I came across a great quote from Sari Friedman, a Toronto-based human resources consultant and career coach in Best Health magazine: “Employees should not feel that there is something heroic about coming to work contagious.”

While it’s best to stay on top of things with good health habits and your seasonal flu shot, if illness hits and you’re either too sick to do your job properly or at the risk of infecting others, go ahead and take that sick day. Your boss should thank you!



Now it’s time for one lucky Canadian This Mom Loves reader to win an awesome flu-fighting pack from Shoppers Drug Mart valued at approximately $160, which includes:

  • Life Brand Hand Sanitizer
  • Life Brand Cough Drops
  • Life Brand Vaporizing Cold Rub
  • Life Brand Electrolyte Maintenance Powder
  • Life Brand Vaporizer
  • Life Brand Digital Thermometer
  • No Name Disinfectant Wipes
  • PC Chicken Noodle Soup
  • PC Facial Tissues
  • PC Feeling Soothed Tea
  • $100 gift card
All you have to do to enter to win is post a Twitter or Facebook update that contains all three of the following:

1. A link to this post (the one you’re reading right now!)
Here’s a shortlink:
2. A tag for @thismomloves
3. The hashtag #ShoppersFlu
For example:
When & why you should take a sick day – plus win a $160 prize pack from @thismomloves! #ShoppersFlu
Feel free to use that exact tweet, but be careful with Facebook: if you copy and paste, you still need to type @thismomloves manually or the tag won’t pop up and I won’t be notified in order to count your entry!
You can enter once per day until the giveaway ends. The giveaway runs until Tuesday, November 21st at midnight Eastern, after which time the entries will be totaled and a winner will be chosen through random number generation. Good luck…and happy flu-fighting!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart. Opinions are, as always, my own.

143 comments on “When & Why To Take a Sick Day – Plus win a $160 SDM Prize Pack!”

  1. Caught my first cold of the year and so not loving it haha. Currently curled up on the couch drinking tea and trying to stay warm. Lucky for me I’m on mat leave so no need to worry about calling in sick to work!

  2. I used to show up at work if I was really ill since my boss would assume that anyone who called in was not really sick. One time I was so bad that I gave it to him and he told me (after he missed 3 days of work) to never come into work sick again.

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