40% of Healthcare Workers Work While Sick

It’s enough to make you reach for the hand sanitizer! Findings published in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control suggest that even when they’re sick with flu-like illnesses, 4 out of 10 healthcare professionals show up at work.

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Contagious employees risk infecting others when they do this. And with more older patients and people with severe chronic conditions in healthcare facilities, the study says that illness transmission by healthcare employees represents a grave public health hazard.

Lead researcher Dr. Sophia Chiu called the findings “alarming” and cited an earlier study that showed patients exposed to a medical worker who is sick are 5 times more likely to get a healthcare-associated infection. “We recommend all healthcare facilities take steps to support and encourage their staff to not work while they are sick,” she added.

The survey of nearly 2,000 health workers canvassed doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, aides, and others.