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Health

More than 1 in 4 Americans go to work while sick

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More than one in four Americans are so afraid of missing work that they head into the office even when sniffling and sneezing, a study says.

Many are worried about falling behind on their jobs, missing pay or facing the wrath of bosses who expect them to show up no matter what, according to a survey by NSF International, which tests and certifies public health products.

Nearly 20% of Americans report always showing up for work while sick. And 17% of workers say they stay home only if a doctor orders them to, the report says.

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"A majority of Americans indicate the major reason is because of workload," NSF said in a statement. "Many have deadlines or are afraid they will have too much work to make up if they take a sick day."

The report also found that about one-quarter of Americans say they work because their bosses expect them to even while battling a bug. Men are also much more likely to fight through their illness — 33% of males surveyed said they do so, compared with 17% of women.

This kind of attitude is, surprisingly, not frowned upon by a vast portion of healthy colleagues who are working side by side human petri dishes.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed view sick co-workers as "hard workers." Only 16% said people who came into work ill were disrespecting the well-being of their fellow worker bees.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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