Cold sufferers deciding whether to go to work or stay at home simply can’t win according to new research from Boots. While nearly half of UK workers would rather their colleagues took time off and kept their germs to themselves, another third equated time taken off for a cold as skiving.
Guilt and confusion over how best to balance colleagues and cold symptoms mean that over half of workers never take any time off at all to recover, potentially putting others at work at risk of infection.
Only eight per cent of people admit to taking as much time off as they actually needed to get better.
To make matters worse still, employees who do make it into work with a cold are highly likely to irritate colleagues with their symptoms. While nose blowing and coughing are often forgiven, nearly half of people find cold sufferers who don't cover their mouth with their hand or tissues when coughing or sneezing completely insufferable. Sniffing was shown to be a 'no go' area too with nearly one in four of those surveyed saying this is the most annoying thing a person with a cold can do.
Knowing the right thing to do gets even more challenging when it comes to where colds are picked up. Half of people think that they are more likely to pick up a cold from coming into contact with people on their way to of from work, rather than from a friend or intimate partner. This isn’t surprising as research conducted by the Consumer Health Information Centre, shows that a cold virus can travel the length of a train carriage at the rate of 100mph.
It seems that not only are the majority of UK cold suffers not treated with sympathy in the work place, but they are also not treating their colds adequately with cold remedies. One in five respondents claimed that they do nothing but “sweat it out” when they have a cold, while half of people just take whatever is lying around in the medicine cabinet.
The one thing that almost everyone agreed upon in the survey was that ‘man flu’ does exist. The vast majority of women think that men moan the most when they have a cold and many men actually agree. In fact only one in four men think that women make a fuss when they catch a cold.
Private medical insurance: News update: January 2008