When you have a healthy immune system, a stomach bug or cold is typically a minor inconvenience. You might spend a few days sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, and eating soup – but once you’re feeling back to normal, you simply move on with the hope that you won’t be sick again soon. However, the cost of germs is much greater than you might think. When people are sick and unable to carry on with their typical routines, businesses and schools often suffer the consequences.
The Cost of Germs
Whether you’re a business owner, a school administrator, a parent, a student, or an employee, we encourage you to strengthen your immune system and prevent the spread of germs. After all, being sick isn’t just uncomfortable and frustrating. When you’re unable to work or attend school, you may impede your personal progress and hurt your business’s revenue or your school’s funding.
Downtime at Work
Although you can certainly take a sick day, work doesn’t stop when you are down for the count. When you return to your job after a few days off, chances are your desk will be littered with piles of papers, and your email inbox will be full. This situation can create a vicious cycle because stress lowers your immune system.
Companies should never underestimate the cost of germs because employees’ sick time can be pricey. Whether you work at an office, warehouse, or construction site, absenteeism and lowered productivity directly lead to a decrease in revenue. Well-meaning employees will sometimes come to work when they are contagious, spreading the illness to their fellow employees. If you’re an employer, we encourage you to discuss the importance of staying home when contagious with your employees and to not reward perfect attendance. You can help prevent one person’s sickness from spoiling the entire office’s productivity.
Another issue is that not every employee receives paid sick leave. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only 46 percent of full-time employees who work in the service industry have paid sick day benefits. Sick employees can infect an entire department or floor, and if they are handling food, the situation can easily escalate into a public health issue. So if you work in a company without sick days, we encourage you to implement them if you have the power to do so.
Businesses and working adults aren’t the only ones who suffer from the ill effects of germs. When children attending public schools are frequently absent, the school district has the potential to lose federal funding, which means less money for learning tools and facility improvements. Attendance-based funding varies from district to district, but even a few absences can add up quickly.
Plus, children who frequently miss class due to illness have a disadvantage. Just like adults fall behind at work, children can fall behind in school and come home with several hours worth of homework each day. Research shows that missing 10 percent of school days (or about two days per month) negatively affects a student’s academic performance (source).
Depending on a child’s age and the severity of the illness, his or her parent may need to stay home as well. Most working parents know what it’s like to have to sacrifice a sick day to take care of their sick child. In this way, one child’s illness can have a negative impact on several people: the child, the child’s parent, the child’s teacher and school administrators, and the boss/coworkers of the parent.
Finally, even a minor illness can reduce athletes’ focus, strength, and endurance, setting the stage for poor performance, serious injuries, or worse. To reduce the likelihood of athletes getting sick, schools can take preventative steps to protect student athletes. Focus on limiting germ exposure in athletic facilities, using a germ fogger and offering hand sanitizer in locker rooms, weight rooms, gyms, and similar spaces.
In regard to health, the cost of germs varies from person to person. For most people, being sick means resting at home for a couple of days. They might spend a little money on tissues, over-the-counter medicines, saltines, and ginger ale, but the cost of their illness is relatively minor. For others, a sickness can mean numerous doctor appointments, expensive prescriptions, or perhaps even hospitalization. These people might stay sick for weeks instead of days, and they may develop a more serious illness from something relatively simple – such as developing bronchitis or pneumonia after being in contact with someone who has a cold (source).
So if you’re sick, take special care to stay away from those who are most at risk of severe illness. This typically means infants, children, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system. Stay away from crowds, and avoid hospitals, schools, and airports. In addition, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid close contact with other people (such as hugging or shaking hands), and try not to touch frequently touched items (like doorknobs and light switches).
Tips for Staying Healthy
While it’s impossible to hide from germs, do your part to keep yourself healthy and stop the spread of germs. Build up your immune system by eating a well-balanced diet. During winter when illnesses like the flu are more prevalent, take vitamin C supplements to enhance your immune system (source). Teach your children the basics of proper hand washing and other hygienic habits, like sneezing into an elbow rather than your hands. And of course, don’t go to work when you are sick and don’t send your children to school when they are sick.
No matter how strong your immune system is, you’ll never be completely immune to germs. To keep your surroundings and your hands clean, turn to SafeSpace. The SafeSpace Company is a family-owned small business proudly selling American-made germ foggers, auto germ and odor eliminators, and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to keep your family safe and healthy. To avoid the high cost of germs, stock up on disinfectant essentials with the SafeSpace Germ Fighter Kit. You’ll get everything you need to keep yourself and your family healthy: hand sanitizers, disinfecting and deodorizing mists, and disinfectant foggers. For more information about SafeSpace, contact us online or call us toll-free at 1-800-735-2506.