Only fools go out with flu
By Alexandra Lachine, Arts and Entertainment Editor
You know who you are. You wake up feeling lousy, clammy, have a sore throat and horrible cough. You wash down two ibuprofen with a tall glass of juice and are out the door for work.
The mere, seemingly ludicrous thought of taking a sick day burns into your mind perhaps stronger than the fever you do not yet know you’re running. God forbid you miss out on something that seems vital to your very existence at the time, or disappoint your boss or co-workers, so you push through the day by foolishly lying to yourself that it can’t be the flu.
Every year once colder temperatures set in, we all hear about people going to work or school with the flu, thereby spreading it to unsuspecting victims. According to the CDC, nearly 6,500 people have been hospitalized with the flu since October, many of them adults older than 50 and children younger than four. The agency also said 20 children have died during the current flu season.
Still going strong thanks to an early emergence, the 2017-2018 flu season has been abnormally awful, accompanied by far too many tragic cases of people, including otherwise healthy children, dying from it. This is nothing but perilous to healthcare systems and people that are already at higher risk for getting sick due to immune deficiencies.
Perhaps the silver lining to all this is that we as a society will finally realize that our work culture needs to take a backseat to our responsibility to not put others at risk. People have a civil duty to re-examine their powerfully egotistical urge to be physically present at work or school when they have a contagious illness.
It is also up to employers to re-evaluate policies and set examples for their employees, a simple, smart practice which will actually conserve money in the long run. The CDC estimates that the U.S. economy annually forfeits $16.3 billion in lost earnings because of the flu.
Employees and students deserve to know that self-care will be respected. A valid concern is the abuse of sick days, but far more people opt for the rugged persona that goes into class, work or both. It is the responsibility of every individual in society to think of all the people they interact with on a daily basis alone, recognizing that our actions and choices affect the health of others.
It may not always be easy to know when to make the call to stay home, but even the sudden onset of flu-like symptoms should send your red flag of contagion flying. Such distinguishable flu symptoms include extreme sore throat, fever, body aches, cough and severe fatigue.
Remember, if you have the flu but are not severely sick, avoid the emergency room at all costs as your virus will corrupt a greater number of vectors in this setting. Treatments include plenty of rest, antiviral prescription medications, drinking lots of clear fluids and isolation except to receive medical care.
If you absolutely refuse the practice of self-care for treating your flu, it is your duty to do it anyway for your neighbors.