Americans feeling 'pressure' to work sick: Study

If you dread taking a sick day, you’re not alone.

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Nearly four in five Americans – 78 percent – feel “pressure to power through an illness” at the workplace, per a new study, even though fewer than one in seven is “proud” of doing so.

"Being sick does take an emotional toll on sufferers, both in terms of work and personal responsibilities," according to psychologist Dr. Susan Bartell, and the study finds numerous sources of stress Americans face when sick.

More than half of respondents reported feeling “guilt” and “embarrassment” over potentially spreading illness, and Americans are more anxious about showing up (43 percent) than about calling out sick (29 percent). Further, 69 percent said a bad cough is not a valid reason to take a sick day – and one in three said their boss would agree.

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Despite the pressure to work under the weather, three in four will show up with a nagging cough – but most Americans are sick of their coworkers doing just that.

Eighty-two percent of workers responded they would likely be “bothered by coworkers showing up to work with a cough,” and two in five are “irritated” by people around them coughing – regardless of setting.

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When asked what unpleasant activities respondents would “rather do than have a nagging cough,” 42 percent said public speaking. Nearly 40 percent said they would prefer sitting in traffic while running late, and one-third would rather deal with the DMV.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with cough medicine maker Robitussin, asked 2,000 adults a series of questions pertaining to minor illnesses like nagging coughs and colds that the average American suffers at least twice a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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