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How to Survive Being Sick — When You Don't Get Sick Days

Sick days are of thing of the past in some professions, which is why managing symptoms is a must to get you through work days when you're ill.

Not everyone can afford to take sick days, even when feeling lousy. Whether your job doesn’t provide paid sick days, you’ve used up all your sick time, you own a business, or you’re a stay-at-home parent where sick days don't exist, knowing how to survive work days when ill is a must.

Rest, Rest, Rest!

Getting plenty of sleep is crucial when you’re feeling ill, and one of the best ways to boost recovery time. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night, but when you’re sick the more sleep you can squeeze into your routine (even if you have to take naps) the better. When you’re not sleeping, take it easy at work. Strive for sitting desk work, or do something laid back with the kids. Ask your boss for a work-from-home day instead of trekking to the office.

Boost Vitamin C

Boosting your intake of vitamin C appears to help reduce the severity of colds and other illnesses. Harvard Health Publishing says taking at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C daily seems to reduce the duration of cold symptoms by about 14 percent in kids and 8 percent in adults — which equates to a day less of feeling sick. Take an extra vitamin C supplement, and eat or drink plenty of vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies (oranges, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, red peppers or orange juice, for example).

Manage Symptoms

You won't magically become healed immediately after getting sick, but you can manage your symptoms to make working while sick tolerable. Ask your doctor about taking Ibuprofen for headaches, muscle aches, sore throat and other aches or pains, a non-drowsy decongestant for stuffiness, and cough medicine for a cough you just can’t shake. Consider getting a humidifier in your home or office, as Mayo Clinic says humidifiers help soothe symptoms of colds and other respiratory problems caused by illness. Having fewer symptoms means getting through the day easier when you’re feeling less than par and sick days aren't an option.

Get Lots of Fluids

When you’re sick your body’s fluid needs increase, putting you at a higher risk for dehydration. Drink constantly throughout the day to reduce symptoms and help your body recover as quickly as possible. Remember, any fluid counts! Drink water, juices, soups or Gatorade regularly throughout the day. The Institute of Medicine suggests adequate fluid requirements are 16 cups per day for men and 11 cups daily for women, but when you’re sick aim for more than this minimum daily recommendation.

Enhance Recovery Time

Recovering quickly means taking it easy to let your body rest. Take a day off from the gym (or do lower-intensity physical activity until you’re feeling better). Reduce stress, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, and consume nutrient-rich foods and drinks to give your body the best chance at a fast recovery.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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