Staying Home When Sick Might Be Wise

May 27 (HealthDay News) -- People who repeatedly go to work when they're sick increase their odds of having to take long-term sick leave, a new survey has found.

Researchers questioned about 12,000 working-age people in Denmark, asking how many times in the preceding year had they gone to work ill when it would have been better for them to have stayed home. Their responses were compared with the sick leave they took in the subsequent 18 months.

People who had gone to work while sick at least six times in the previous year were 53 percent more likely to have to take a subsequent sick leave of at least two weeks and 74 percent more likely to take more than two months of sick leave than were those who did not go to work when they were sick.

The researchers found several common features among those most likely to go to work sick, including poor general health, a heavy workload, work-family conflicts, a good level of social support, holding a senior position on the job and obesity.

Taking off short periods of time when sick, the researchers said, might help people cope with the stresses of a demanding job.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, April 2009

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