I confess to being on both sides of that equation. There have been times in the past when I dragged myself to work and had co-workers waving cans of antiseptic spray in my general direction begging me to go home. Why did I go to work in the first place? Because I somehow felt it was "that important" to be there and be productive; not realizing how un-productive I was being. Funny enough although it was okay when I came to work ill it was not okay when others came to work in the same condition. I'm not talking about a modest sneeze or sniffle, I mean a full-blown, all out, old fashioned sick-as-a-dog illness. When someone else showed up that way I was upset, I didn't "have time to get sick" and they weren't being very effective anyway, so why didn't they just go home? When we're that sick we should all go home.
The truth of the matter is that if you take that time to recuperate, rest, and avoid sugar, chances are pretty good that you will be back in action much sooner than if you continue to deplete your body.
Other ideas to help you feel better include the usual admonitions to drink lots of warm fluids (not coffee) especially herbal teas with lemon juice or fresh grated ginger, you can also drink soothing broths. You can take zinc gluconate, use the lozenges not the tablets. A neti pot can be very helpful to clear the sinus cavities of mucuous and can also reduce the swelling of the nasal tissues. Of course there is also Vitamin C, a strong antioxidant and is believed to help stimulate the immune system. There are admittedly conflicting studies about it's effectiveness. Some studies seem to indicate that it is not helpful while according to the Linus Pauling Institute "Overall, the preventive use of vitamin C supplementation reduced the duration of colds by about 8% in adults and 14% in children". I personally believe in using it.
Garlic is great especially as a preventative. My friend Helene takes it raw when she feels a cold coming on, 1 clove chopped up and swallowed down with a glass of water. I do find that this method is better to take after I've eaten a meal but it really does seem to help. Another friend swears by this James Beard Garlic Soup recipe. When making it for a cold I would leave out the heavy cream.
So the next time you're not feeling well, instead of martyring yourself, do yourself and your co-workers a favor. Stay home.
photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.com