Top Reasons People Call in Sick

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Seventy-five percent of Americans go to work with a cold. But when you wake up under the weather, how do you know if you should shrug it off or call in sick?

Viewers give their reasons for calling in sick. What are some of yours?

Laughing is the Best Medicine
Marlo Thomas, legendary actress and six-time author, knows a lot about laughing, as she is the daughter of famed comedian Danny Thomas. In her latest book, Growing Up Laughing, Marlo says the laughter she inherited from her father made her see the world as a "small and friendly place."

Laughter also has positive properties and can boost your immune system, helping to prevent you from getting sick. Danny Thomas started St. Jude's Children's Hospital knowing that by passing on his natural ability to make the world smile, he would be giving the best medicine for sick children and their families.

Read an excerpt from
Growing Up Laughing

Cameras capture how laughter helps the children of St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says in many ways, laughter and pet therapy can be just as important as medicine to a sick child. Marlo adds that these things also give the children a taste of home and comfort.

Colds are caused by a virus and can last three to four days. If it should develop into bronchitis, you may develop a cough that lasts for weeks. During the first few days of a cold, are the most contagious. When returning to work, wash your hands as often as possible, and sneeze into your arm or elbow. Keep your body hydrated. While over-the-counter medications ease the pain, they are only for symptom relief — to sleep better or get through the day, and don't cure the condition.

As a parent, deciding when to keep your child out of school can be slightly more tricky. Keep your child home in these cases:

Diarrhea (frequent, watery, mucousy): Most diarrhea is not contagious, but some is. When complimented by a fever and vomiting, it's most surely contagious.
High Fever: Any significant fever is cause for concern.
Cough with green or yellow mucus: Coughs are worse in the morning, so don't make a decision within the first half hour of waking. If a child continues to cough, he or she should be kept home. The color of the mucus is important. While white mucus is fine, thick yellow or green mucus is cause for worry.
Rashes: The most contagious rash is chicken pox, and it will remain contagious for the first seven days.
Head Lice: Head lice will look like small pieces of sand against the scalp. While always contagious, once treated, a child can go to school the very next day.

Period Pain
Most women experience back pain and cramps once a month during their menstrual cycle, but OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, heating pads, birth control pills, vitamins and exercise can help alleviate the pain. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and salty foods.

Morning Sickness
Nausea during pregnancy is normal and typically eases in the second trimester. To help ease morning sickness, try the following:

• Crackers
Flat Soda
Ginger or flat ginger ale
Acupuncture bands
Vitamin B and Vitamin B lollipops

• Try the Morning-Sickness Smoothie

Stay home or call a doctor when you are vomiting to a point you can't keep any liquid down.

Flu vs. Food Poisoning
The flu does not cause diarrhea and vomiting like food poisoning. The flu causes dry cough and a fever. Dr. Travis says the treatment for both the flu and food poisoning is the same — stay well hydrated and let it pass.

Food poisoning is not contagious, but you may not feel well enough to be at work. To avoid it completely, watch bacteria in the kitchen and keep your hands clean. If you develop symptoms, stay hydrated. If you cannot keep fluids down at all — or if your stool is filled with mucus or blood — see a doctor.

Tension Headaches
People experience headaches for different personal reasons, and the only true away to avoid or limit them is to watch your triggers and treat the headaches early.

Different Types of Headaches:

Sinus headache: Pressure above your sinuses.
Cluster headache: Severe pain behind the eye or tearing in that eye.
Tension headache: Pain is spread across the forehead or back of the head.
Migraine headache: Pain on one side of the head.

Headache relief tips

The best treatment for hangovers is to prevent it to begin with. While drinking, alternate between alcohol and water — and never drink on an empty stomach. Be weary of taking over-the-counter pain medication to relieve symptoms, because it may upset your stomach further and cause damage to the liver if taken beyond the recommended daily allowance.

Hangover Help: Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears demonstrates self acupressure and shares a soup recipe that relieves symptoms

Soup to Relieve Hangovers
Serves 7 to 8 people


2 pounds beef tripe
2 onions, chopped
4 (15 ounce) cans white hominy
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
3 whole cloves of garlic
2 pinches of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

In a pot, combine the tripe and the onions. Add water until pot is almost full. Cover and cook on low heat for about 2 hours, or until tripe is tender, but not too soft. Add the hominy, chili powder, garlic cloves, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for another 45 minutes to one hour. Garnish with chopped onions and lemon juice and serve with fresh corn tortillas.

Menudois a Mexican soup made with beef stomach (tripe and hominy) in a clear broth or red chili base.

Reasons it's effective:

Menudo is rich with fats which coat the stomach
The temperature of the soup and spiciness is said to "cleanse pours"
Replenishes the body with Vitamins A and C
Soothes the stomach
Stimulates the gastic juices to overcome any loss of appetite

Mental Health Day
In cases of severe stress, family conflict, heartbreak, fatigue and exhaustion, a mental health day may allow one to return to work more productive. Dr. Travis says planning for a mental health day in advance, as opposed to faking being sick, is a better alternative.

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OAD 12/13/10