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Attending work when ill will only worsen condition in long run

June 11, 2011 - Melbourne

Experts have warned that going to work when one is not feeling well will only worsen the condition in the long run.

New Zealand sociologist Professor Kevin Dew wrote an editorial in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal, based on his assessment of more than 40 papers about "presenteeism".

He defined presenteeism as: "People that are turning up at work when they feel that they should be at home sick."

Evidence suggests that people who go to work when they're sick are more likely to suffer from fatigue, depression and serious heart problems.

Dew, from Victoria University in Wellington, said the working environment played the biggest part on the prevalence of presenteeism.

For instance, "caring professions", like nursing and teaching, had high levels of presenteeism.

"People feel compelled to go to work because someone else would have to take up the workload (and they have a) feeling of responsibility for not being able to care properly for patients (if they don't show up)," the Courier Mail quoted him as saying.

He found the most common conditions that people show up to work suffering were depression and migraine.

"They are not seen as legitimate reasons for absence," he stated.


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