Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic

Deciding When to Stay Home From Work: A Guide to Contagious Illness

Dec 04, 2023
Deciding When to Stay Home From Work: A Guide to Contagious Illness
Don’t be the person who shows up to work sick and infects the rest of the team. Learn how to discern when you should stay home and get well.

Some 90% of people admit they go to work even when battling a cold or the flu. While it might be tempting to tough it out when sick days are limited, you should stay home if your illness is contagious.

Not sure whether you’re contagious? The team at Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic, PLLC, in Waxahachie, Texas, sheds light on discerning if you're too sick for work.

If you're experiencing a mild tickle in your throat or sniffles without achiness or fever and generally feel fine, it's likely allergies. Allergies can be managed with over-the-counter medications, allowing you to go to work without posing a risk.

Assessing your symptoms

Many illnesses have overlapping symptoms that last varying lengths of time. You can assess your symptoms for the following:

Runny nose

If your runny nose isn't allergy-related, it's probably a cold, which can easily spread in a workplace setting.

Flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms

The flu, colds, and COVID-19 can spread through the air, close contact, or contaminated surfaces. Whether you test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit symptoms of a cold or flu, staying home is the responsible choice for your well-being and coworkers.

Flu symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Not everyone with the flu develops a fever, but staying home is advisable if you have other flu symptoms.


A temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit indicates a contagious illness. Staying home until at least 24 hours after your fever subsides is crucial.


While ear infections aren't contagious, if you have cold symptoms and an earache, you might spread it to others during the initial two to three days. 

We recommend that you book an appointment with the Trinity Family Health Clinic for further assessment and, if necessary, antibiotics.

How long am I contagious?

The peak contagiousness usually occurs when you feel the worst, typically during the second and third days of symptoms.

For the flu, the contagious period begins about one day before symptoms surface and can persist for 5-7 days from the onset of illness. Remember, staying home and resting when not well is fundamental to recovery and halting the spread of illness.

If you suffer from the flu, COVID-19, or other winter illnesses, book an appointment today with Trinity Family Health Clinic in Waxahachie, Texas, by calling our office or using the online booking tool.