, United Kingdom (PressExposure) January 25, 2008 -- Cold sufferers deciding whether to go to work or stay at home simply can't win according to new research from Boots. While nearly half (47 per cent) of UK workers would rather their colleagues took time off and kept their germs to themselves, another third (33 per cent) equated time taken off for a cold as skiving.
Guilt and confusion over how best to balance colleagues and cold symptoms mean that over half of workers (56 per cent) never take any time off at all to recover, potentially putting others at work at risk of infection. Furthermore, the report from Boots showed that only eight per cent of people admit to taking as much time off as they actually needed to get better.
To make matters worse still, employees who do make it into work with a cold are highly likely to irritate colleagues with their symptoms. While nose blowing and coughing are often forgiven, nearly half (48%) of people find cold sufferers who don't cover their mouth with their hand or tissues when coughing or sneezing completely insufferable.
Sniffing was shown to be a 'no go' area too with nearly one in four (23%) of those surveyed saying this is the most annoying thing a person with a cold can do.
Knowing the right thing to do gets even more challenging when it comes to where colds are picked up. Half of people think that they are more likely to pick up a cold from coming into contact with people on their way to of from work, rather than from a friend or intimate partner. This isn't surprising as research conducted by the Consumer Health Information Centre, shows that a cold virus can travel the length of a train carriage at the rate of 100mph.
It seems that not only are the majority of UK cold suffers not treated with sympathy in the work place, but they are also not treating their colds adequately with cold remedies. One in five respondents claimed that they do nothing but "sweat it out" when they have a cold, while half of people just take whatever is lying around in the medicine cabinet.
The one thing which almost everyone agreed upon in the survey was that 'man flu' does exist. The vast majority of women (82 per cent) think that men moan the most when they have a cold and 56 per cent of men actually agree. In fact only one in four men think that women make a fuss when they catch a cold.
Angela Chalmers, Boots Pharmacist said: "Battling a cold or flu afflicts all of us at some point, but this research shows that people are confused about what is the standard protocol to dealing with and treating the illness. We recommend that people visit their local pharmacist who can assess their symptoms on an individual basis and recommend the correct treatments, which may or may not include some time off work".
Finally, anyone who constantly suffers from colds and flu (50% of foremen and supervisors claim to have suffered from the flu in the last 3 years) then they should perhaps consider drastic action - the highest percentage of people to have not suffered from a cold or flu in the past three year are those who have retired (21 per cent) or who don't work (11 per cent).