Heart beat: Working while sick

Heart beat

Working while sick

Every workplace has its legendary iron men and women — workers who never take a day off even when they are sick enough to warrant staying home. Their dedication, while laudable, isn't so good for their co-workers, who are exposed to their germs. It isn't so good for themselves, either.

In a long-running study of more than 5,000 British men, all civil servants, almost one in five "unhealthy" workers who could have taken some sick time were not absent at all over a three-year period. Penny-wise, but pound-foolish — the no-absence workers were twice as likely to have had a heart attack or died from heart disease during this relatively brief span as those who took some sick time.

The researchers offered three explanations for how working when ill might pose long-term health problems. It could

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »