Should I go to work if I feel sick?

Sick man on couch


It’s always a good idea to stay at home if you are sick, and especially right now when we are beginning to see more cases of novel coronavirus or COVID-19. If you have symptoms like a cough, fever, or trouble breathing stay home, call your supervisor and let them know you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 

Utah is still in cold and flu season, so even if you have these symptoms, there is a good chance you might have the flu, rather than novel coronavirus. But in either case, you should not risk infecting your coworkers or other people you might interact with at your workplace. 

It’s true that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases will be mild or moderate. Just because you can physically go to work does not mean you should.

While we still have a lot to learn about novel coronavirus, one thing we do know is that it can manifest itself very mildly in some persons and very severely in others. Your symptoms may be mild, but by going to work sick, you risk exposing others who may be more seriously impacted by the virus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying home if you are experiencing any symptoms that match COVID-19. 

If you are sick, the CDC recommends you “restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, and taxis.” 

If you develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your clinician or healthcare provider. Explain your symptoms. They will also likely ask you about your travel history, and if you have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Calling ahead will help your doctor make a plan for care, and to take steps to protect other patients in their office from possible infection or exposure. 

If you are worried you may have COVID-19, you can also call  the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707.