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Poll: One in 4 head to work even when sick

Sunday - 2/23/2014, 11:17pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- Colds and flu often spread like wildfire in the workplace, and one big reason is that too many people who are sick just won't stay home.

A recent poll of 1,000 American adults found roughly one in four - 26 percent - go to work when they are ill.

Concern about lost wages is one reason. But a majority of those polled by NSF International, a public-health testing group based in Michigan, said they couldn't afford a sick day because they had too much to do and too many deadlines to meet.

Twenty-five percent claimed they work while sick because their boss expects them to come in no matter what, according to the pollsters.

It's a big reminder of the importance of proper hygiene - like handwashing - to help cut the risk of contacting a virus. That's true year-round, but especially right now, with flu season at its height.

Several area hospitals have already put restrictions on visitors who might knowingly or unknowingly be carrying colds and flu. They include three hospitals in the Inova network: Loudon, Fairfax and Fair Oaks.

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