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WJBD - Health & Fitness News - Do Paid Sick Days Lead to Reduced Flu Transmission?

Do Paid Sick Days Lead to Reduced Flu Transmission?

Pixland/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Today's sunny skies and warm breezes leaves last season's flu outbreak well in the rear-view mirror, though who can forget all our attempts to halt the spread with hand sanitizers and antibiotic wipes showing up everywhere.

 

But according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, one of the best ways to control that spread is a no-brainer: simply stay home while you're sick.

 

Heading to work even though you know you've got the flu is probably not a good idea for you or for your co-workers. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says stay home until your fever's gone for at least 24 hours.

 

But not everyone can do that. Almost half of us don't get paid if we don't show up.

 

With that in mind, researchers decided to look at what would happen if employees got paid sick days and even an extra day (or two) above that for flu.

 

Using computer modeling they figured just shy of 12 percent of us got our flu from workplace transmission, and of that, nearly three-quarters was attributed to coworkers showing up sick.

 

They then simulated two new scenarios -- one in which workers had access to paid sick days, and another where employees got that one or two extra "flu days" off -- keeping them away even longer.

 

The results? Not surprising.

 

They concluded that universal paid sick time could reduce workplace illness by nearly six percent. An extra "flu" day could cut illness by over 25 percent, while two "flu" days off could reduce sick employees by almost 40 percent.

 

The bottom line, according to the study's findings: If employers don't want flu to spread, paid sick time is one answer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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