Too Sick to Work?
How sick is too sick to go to work? Advice on when you should just stay home.
Too Sick to Work: Sinus Infection
An acute sinus infection can cause yellow or green nasal discharge, nasal
stuffiness, facial pain or pressure, headache, or aching in the upper jaw and
If you feel too sick to work, stay home. You may have so much throbbing
facial pain or headache that you can’t concentrate on your job. Try some
Use decongestants for a few days, Haynes says. Nasal irrigation with saline
solution also helps to cleanse the sinuses. “Some people get tremendous relief
that way,” Cummins says.
But if symptoms don’t improve in a few days or get worse, it’s time to see
the doctor, who may treat you with antibiotics.
What about flying for business? Neither Haynes nor Cummins counsels patients
to absolutely avoid airplanes if they have a sinus infection. But both urge
caution because air pressure changes inside the cabin may worsen pain,
especially on takeoff and landing.
“If you’re really sick, I wouldn’t travel anyway,” Haynes says. “But if you
have a mild sinus infection and you have to travel, take a decongestant and/or
antihistamine before you get on the plane.”
In rare cases, flying with a sinus infection could cause a ruptured eardrum,
Cummins says. “It’s a very sudden, painful event, often followed by a bit of
blood that may come out of the ear.”
“That sounds like a horrible thing,” Haynes says, “but most of the time, it
would heal itself.” A ruptured eardrum typically repairs within two months; any
hearing loss is usually temporary.