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There’s a name for when people go to work even when they’re sick… It’s called “presenteeism.” And employees do it because they don’t want to seem like slackers – or they have too much work on their plate to take a sick day… so they show up anyway. But know this: Sick workers are less productive, take longer to get better, and make a lot of their co-workers sick, too! So, if you have the flu – when should you go back to work?

Well, according to internist Dr. Keri Peterson, the unfortunate news is – when it comes to the flu, you’re contagious one day BEFORE you get symptoms. So you may infect people even if you stay home once the fever and chills strike. But stay home anyway – and Dr. Peterson says people are still contagious between 5 and 7 days AFTER the first flu symptoms start. That may seem like a really long time to stay home sick… But if you don’t take care of yourself, you could get complications from the flu, like pneumonia, and you’ll be out for even longer. So stay home until you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours – without the use of over-the-counter flu medications.

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