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A vast majority of Americans go to work sick

December 20, 2012

CINCINNATI — If you've ever gone to work sick, a recent study commissioned by Cintas Corporation shows that you're not alone, according to a press release.

avoid handshakeThe survey, conducted online in November 2012 by Harris Interactive among 2,249 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, revealed that 84 percent of employed adults admit to having gone to work while sick; of those workers, almost half (45 percent) take no precautions to avoid direct contact with others in the form of shaking hands, fist bumps, etc., and even refrain from warning others of their illness, the release stated.

"Workplaces can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria when workers engage in presenteeism, or attending work while sick," said John Amann, vice president of First Aid & Safety at Cintas.

"Since presenteeism reduces business productivity, it's important for people to take the proper steps to protect themselves and others, like avoiding contact and warning co-workers of their illness," Amann added.

According to the release, when asked which precautions they take to alleviate their own symptoms and avoid infecting others in the workplace, employed U.S. adults who have ever gone to work sick reported:

  • I regularly wash my hands/use hand sanitizer: 77 percent
  • I sneeze/cough into my sleeve: 67 percent
  • I bring my own medication to work: 54 percent
  • I regularly wipe down my workspace: 34 percent.

Since the symptoms of illness can affect employees without warning, it's important for organizations to keep on-site first aid cabinets well-stocked with appropriate products like decongestant, cold relief and sore throat relief solutions, the release noted.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.