Stay Home When You Are Sick

exclamation square light iconIs it Flu or COVID-19?

Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.

Stay Home From Work When Sick!

This video list the common signs and symptoms of flu and reminds employees to stay home from work when they are sick.

What Employees Should Know

All employees should stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after their fever* (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher) is gone. Temperature should be measured without the use of fever-reducing medicines (medicines that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).

Note: Not everyone with flu will have a fever. Individuals with suspected or confirmed flu, who do not have a fever, should stay home from work at least 4-5 days after the onset of symptoms. Persons with the flu are most contagious during the first 3 days of their illness.

If you become sick at work

CDC recommends that workers who have flu symptoms upon arrival to work or become ill during the day should promptly separate themselves from other workers and go home until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications, or after symptoms have improved (at least 4-5 days after flu symptoms started).

What Employers Should Know

An important way to reduce the spread of flu is to keep sick people away from those who are not sick. Businesses should review and communicate their sick leave policies and practices to employees every year before flu season begins.

  • Advise all employees to stay home if they are sick until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, or after symptoms have improved (at least 4-5 days after flu symptoms started).
  • Prepare and advise employees on policies concerning caring for sick household members or children. Flexible leave policies and alternate work schedules can help prevent the spread of flu at your workplace, allow employees to continue to work or function while limiting contact with others, help maintain continuity of operations, and help people manage their health and their family’s needs.
  • Prepare for employees to stay home from work and plan ways for essential business functions to continue.Employees may stay home because they are sick, need to care for sick household members, or because schools have been dismissed and they need to care for their children. Cross-train staff to perform essential functions so that the business can continue operating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should household members of sick people stay home, too?

No, an employee who is well and lives with a sick household member may go to work. It is especially important that these employees monitor themselves for illness.

Employees with school-aged children may need to stay home to care for their children. Employers should review leave policies for the flexibility to allow employees to stay home if they need to care for their children or other household members.

Why should businesses have flexible leave policies or alternate work schedules?

An important way to reduce the spread of flu is to keep sick people away from those who are not sick. Therefore, any worker who has flu symptoms should stay home and not come to work. It is possible that employees will need to take care of sick household members or care for children if schools are dismissed or early childhood programs are closed. Flexible leave policies and alternate work schedules will help prevent the spread of flu at your workplace, allow employees to continue to work or function while limiting contact with others, help maintain continuity of operations, and help people manage their health and their family’s needs.

Footnote

*Many authorities use either 100 (37.8 degrees Celsius) or 100.4 F (38.0 degrees Celsius) as a cut-off for fever, but this number actually can range depending on factors such as the method of measurement and the age of the person, so other values for fever could be appropriate. CDC has public health recommendations that are based on the presence (or absence) of fever. What is meant by this is that the person’s temperature is not elevated beyond their norm.