If you're under the weather, be it physical, mental, or some combination of things, taking the day off work can help you heal and prepare for what's coming in the days ahead. If you've got something contagious, calling in sick is also an important part of ensuring your coworkers don't get sick, too.

These are some of the most common reasons for calling in sick and why it's a good idea to take the day off if you're experiencing any of them.

The Flu

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1.6 million Americans were diagnosed with the flu in the previous 10 months. That staggering number indicates just how contagious the flu actually is.

Unfortunately, for some people the flu can become serious rather quickly and so staying home when you have symptoms is a crucial step to take in protecting others. Plus, if you're feeling rundown, rest will usually heal you more quickly than "working through it."

woman sick in bed with the flu


Back Pain

If you're suffering from back pain, it's important to take it seriously. Even though most cases of back pain are short-lived and resolve on their own, chronic back pain may lead to bigger problems if it's ignored or left untreated.

Potential lasting issues include prolonged nerve irritation, spinal stenosis, and nerve damage.

man experiencing back pain at work


Post-Accident Injury

Car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and sports injuries can all wreak havoc on your body, and when you push yourself too hard after, things can get worse quickly. If you've been injured on the job, it's especially important to cease work and seek treatment from a medical professional.

On-the-job injuries also qualify for Workers' Compensation, which covers your wage, medical treatment, and other related expenses, and taking advantage of these benefits is in the best interest of both you and your employer.

man on crutches after injury



Stress might feel like a tame excuse for calling in sick to work but too much stress is hugely detrimental to your health, and that's the reason an estimated 86% of workers have access to sickness benefits that cover stress leave.

If you don't take a break when you're under exceptional stress, there's a good chance you'll eventually experience burnout syndrome, a mental health condition that can affect your physical health, job performance, mood, sleep, and even your relationships.

woman at her desk feeling stressed out


Elective surgery

Elective surgeries include those that are actually vital to your overall well-being, such as dental procedures, low-risk cancer surgeries, angioplasty, and even hip or knee replacements.

These, like all surgeries, require adequate time for your body to heal and rest, so calling in sick to work in the days or weeks after is perfectly acceptable.

woman in bed recovering from surgery



Depression is a real health condition that requires rest and recuperation away from the office; you might need a day here and there, or you could need a week or more.

Many workers across the United States who are living with depression will take a leave of absence to get through a severe bout of depression and thankfully, most employers are accommodating in these cases.

man with depression



Like depression, anxiety is a mental health condition that can severely affect your work life. If you live with anxiety and are having a particularly bad day, calling in sick to look after yourself is usually the best idea.Anxiety in the workplace can quickly lead to stress and burnout, or cause the symptoms to worsen, so often, a day of rest or to attend an appointment makes a positive difference.

person with stress and anxiety at work


The Common Cold

In a world that's rife with worry about coughs, sniffles, and COVID-19, calling in sick for the common cold doesn't seem over-the-top anymore. The common cold has similar symptoms to COVID-19, as well as similar outcomes for those with weakened immune systems or respiratory conditions. As such, it's wise to keep the best interests of others at heart and stay home when you're sick, even if it's just a cold.

woman at home sick with the flu



If you experience migraines, you know how painful they can be. Between the headache, the nausea, the sensitivity to light, and the blurred vision, the likelihood of being a productive worker is pretty slim.

Instead of going to work and making your co-workers pick up the slack, call in sick if you're suffering from a migraine.

woman with a migraine at work


The Most Common Days People Call in Sick

Even if you're not under the weather, you might be tempted to call in sick to work for other reasons. If that's the case, you're probably not alone.

In fact, there are several days throughout the year when businesses see higher-than-normal volumes of sick workers, including the days after Christmas, Easter, and New Years, as well as the days after Mother's Day and the 4th of July.

woman calling in sick to work


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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.