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Leader Performance: What to Do When Cold Season Strikes

Cold Season Advice

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

Are You At Risk to Be One of the Statistics?

It’s cold, cough and flu season. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there over 62 million annual occurrences of the common cold along with 20 million school days lost annually in the United States.

John is head of his division and tomorrow is the annual meeting. He’s has a fever and has been coughing and sneezing all night. Should he go to the office? This is a dilemma faced by many leaders. What is the company’s sick policy and culture? For example, despite ample sick day leave, is the expectation that you crawl to the office regardless of your illness or symptoms—or how you might infect others?

Have you as a leader clarified the ways seasonal illnesses should be handled?

Should your sneezing from an allergy be treated differently than when you are coughing due to a chest cold?

Here are some tips to battle seasonal illnesses:

  1. Get medical advice. What do you have and how contagious might you be? Identify all the symptoms such as a sore throat, fatigue, coughing and sneezing.
  2. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself for a few days. Consider the consequences of getting worse. For example, are you more vulnerable to pneumonia?
  3. Consider the consequences of infecting others.
  4. Stay hydrated to clear soups, juice, water or herbal tea. Avoid caffeinated drinks since it ___ dehydration
  5. Get relief from aches and pains with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin.
  6. Get ample sleep to fight the fatigue.
  7. Stuffed up and coughing? Go for the old fashion remedies such as Vick’s Vapor Rub, a vaporizer, salt-water gargle, and cough drops. Check with medical personnel or pharmacist about the usefulness of cough suppressants. In addition, ask about possible side effects of over-the-counter medications.

Regardless of your leadership position, you may be the victim of a “heavy cold” like the Queen Elizabeth II.

Remember, you don’t have to be royalty to get some time off. Leaders need to model and reinforce a sensible sick leave policy during times when so many in the workforce suffering from brutal colds and hacking coughs.


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