Breaking News
More () »

Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

Feeling icky? Here's how to decide if you should go to work or call in sick

Sometimes you have to go to work. But there are some sure signs that you should call in sick if you can. It's okay. Work will go on without you.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's that time of year when people are going to work sick when they should consider staying home. 

"We're seeing strep and stomach viruses and just the common cold," said Nikki Womble, nurse practitioner at Summit Express Clinic in Powell.

She knows people go to work sick all the time.

"Some people can't miss work," said Womble. "Some people don't want to miss work and some people just aren't too sure if they're contagious or not."

RELATED: Sick of East Tennessee's weird winter weather? Sure. But it's unlikely to be why you're feeling sick.

If you're coughing and sneezing left and right and filling up that office trash can with tissues, you're probably contagious.

"Any time you have a cold or a virus if it's bacterial or viral you're definitely contagious," said Womble.

The National Health Service said cold viruses can survive on indoor surfaces like your keyboard for seven days.

You yourself can be contagious before you even feel the cold or flu symptoms.

So keep your germs to yourself.

RELATED: Keeping the flu away after the holidays

"Sneeze into your elbow as opposed to just sneezing on the keyboards and all that that everybody's using," said Womble.

She said there's one sure sign you shouldn't go to work sick.

"If you've got a fever you should stay home and keep it to yourself," she said.

Wash your hands a lot to keep this crud away from you.

"There is definitely some research that shows taking zinc or Airborne or something of that nature is good to do," said Womble.

RELATED: Doctors warn sick people not to kiss babies due to RSV on the rise

If you go to work, try to contain your coughing and sneezing in your own little bubble that you then wipe down with a cleaning wipe.

If you have a fever, cold or cough that worsens over a few days, don't hesitate to go to your doctor and make sure it's not the flu.

Womble said it's not too late to get your flu shot, and that's the best way to prevent getting that virus.