Are you one of those people who always tries to “tough it out” when you’re feeling sick? Do you “forget” symptoms of illness, thinking that they’re not a big deal or that they’ll go away? While your resilience is admirable, ignoring or trying to “beat” symptoms of sickness is a bad idea.
In this article, we’re going to discuss five of the top signs that you’re getting sick. We’ll also explain why it’s not a good idea to ignore illness. Finally, we’ll provide some pointers about what to do to help prevent getting sick!
Why you should call in sick
While you’re undoubtedly important, it’s not all about you when you’re sick. By ignoring signs of illness, you’re not doing yourself, your colleagues, or your community any favors by venturing out of your house.
The biggest issue it seems that people have when sick is missing work. Though you may feel guilty about calling in, there are plenty of good reasons to stay home. Most employers offer sick days to avoid unwell employees causing problems – such as these:
– Making your colleagues sick:
While soldiering on and getting into work may seem like the right thing to do, it isn’t. Anyone who comes into close contact with you – say, one meter (3 feet) – risks getting what you have. Numerous studies show that the risk of infection in the workplace is much higher than average. This fact is no doubt attributable to people who refuse to call in sick.
– Prolonged absence:
Heading out of the house is not conducive to recovery from illness. There’s a good reason why bed rest is “prescribed” by doctors to patients who are sick – it’s absolutely crucial. Staying home when your body is battling an illness drastically increases the chances of full recovery while decreasing the chances of spreading your sickness to others.
– Spread of illness:
While resistant bacterial strains are partially to blame for bad cold and flu seasons, people who expose the illness to others – willingly or unwillingly – are the main contributing factor to outbreak. When you’re sick and head outside anyway, you risk passing what you’ve got to everyone with whom you come into contact.
Be a responsible employee and person. Even if you don’t like your job, you are essentially wasting your employer’s time and money by sticking around when sick.
A year-long study of 29,000 adults estimates the cost of presenteeism – workers who attend work while sick – at around $150 billion. Additional studies confirm that presenteeism is costlier than illness-related absenteeism (staying home when sick) or disability costs!
Here are 5 signs you’re getting sick that many people ignore:
You’ve got the chills – and they’re spreading.
No, it’s not just your imagination and chills are not a typical response of the body. Body chills are usually indicative of a surfacing illness. Influenza (the flu), for example, features quick onset of chills along with fatigue. The common cold may also include chills paired with an irritated throat. (If you’re unsure as to whether you have one or the other, bear in mind that flu symptoms usually come on much faster.)
If you experience chills – especially if accompanied by other symptoms – make sure to drink plenty of water and get bed rest. Don’t further risk your health by heading outside or going into work!
Your stomach won’t settle down – even after using the toilet.
Ugh. There’s not much worse than a stomach that refuses to calm down. The cause of common symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain is gastroenteritis – inflammation of the digestive tract. Another reason for tummy trouble is stomach flu which, in addition to the above symptoms, may include a low-grade fever and vomiting.
Stomach flu is highly contagious and potentially dangerous for some people. Do yourself and others a favor: drink plenty of fluids and stay home!
You’re pouring sweat – and it’s not stopping.
If you’re profusely sweating, it’s safe to say that you aren’t in good shape to go anywhere. Chances are you’re experiencing additional symptoms besides sweating, like chills and fever. If so, you may be coming down with an infection.
If you continue to have bad sweats make sure to speak with a doctor. Additionally, if you’ve recently been prescribed medications by your physician, speak with them about it; excessive sweating may indicate a medication intolerance or side effect. Although rare, excessive sweating may signify severe medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, or lung disease.
You’re not hungry – for no good reason.
If you’re a big eater (like this writer is), suddenly having your appetite snatched away is just, well, weird. It turns out that there may be medical reasons for this strange symptom, including gastroenteritis and bacterial infection. Loss of appetite may also indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder or depression. Another reason may be food intolerance, though this will likely be accompanied by other symptoms.
You’re feeling mentally drained – and losing interest.
Loss of mental energy affects just about every aspect of life – just ask any person who suffers from depression or an anxiety disorder. Brain fog is an umbrella pseudo-medical term used to describe the presence of mental lethargy, difficulty paying attention, and a slowed response to stimuli. Brain fog can be caused by several medical conditions, including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
If the mental doldrums don’t go away after a few days, consider scheduling a doctor’s appointment to rule out more serious conditions. If the brain fog is accompanied by other symptoms, make sure to let your doctor know.
Final Thoughts: How to Prevent Getting Sick
While no tip can entirely safeguard us from illness, there certainly are concrete steps you can take that will drastically reduce the risks. Here are ten quick tips for preventing illness:
Eat dark green vegetables
Dark green, leafy veggies are packed with vitamins that support a healthy immune system. In a study of lab mice, the rodents who were fed cruciferous vegetables produced 70-80 percent more cell surface-level proteins necessary for effective immune function than rodents that did not consume the veggies.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation decreases the body’s levels of infection-fighting antibodies. The body sheds more immune cells throughout extended periods of sleep deprivation, increasing the risk of infection. Adequate sleep during times of illness also speeds recovery.
Lay off alcohol
Research demonstrates that regular alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of bacterial and viral infections. Drinking alcohol damages dendritic cells, a vital infection-fighting component of the immune system.
Vitamin D deficiencies are shown to contribute to a weakened immune system. Good food sources of vitamin D include beef liver, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and salmon. You may choose to take “D” supplements; just ensure that the product contains D3 (cholecalciferol) as it can more effectively raise your blood levels of vitamin D than other types.
Regular exercise is good for just about everything regarding human health. Per a study published in Neurologic Clinicians, routine exercise boosts the production and circulation of white blood cells, reduces stress and stress-related hormones, lowers the risk of chronic disease, and helps to normalize the immune response.
Practice meditation or yoga
The regulation of personal stress is an overlooked yet important part of lowering infection risk. Learning even the basics of meditation or yoga (or both!) also promotes mental health. The latter also includes physical elements.
Get a flu shot
Everyone over the age of six months should get an annual flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If the outbreak of measles in the U.S. teaches us anything, it’s this: get vaccinated!
Drink some green tea
Freshly-brewed green tea may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The antioxidants in green tea may also help ward off infection. Just ensure that the tea product is freshly brewed. Also, you may need to drink upwards of 3-5 cups of tea daily to realize its full benefits for health.
Stay away from sick people
Unless you’re tending to a sick kid or working in a hospital, you shouldn’t be anywhere near a person you know to be sick. Most bacterial and viral infections are highly contagious, particularly when you’re within close proximity of the other person. Members of your household who are sick should remain in their bedroom whenever possible.
The human body is made up of between 60-65 percent water, making H2O by far the most abundant resource in the human body. Unsurprisingly, water is directly or indirectly responsible for just about every bodily function. Concerning illness, adequate water intake carries oxygen to the immune system and flushes toxins from the system. All things being equal, drinking plenty of water even when you’re healthy is probably the best thing you can do to prevent getting sick. If you do get sick, drinking water may help to speed recovery!