Why Americans prefer to 'power through' sickness rather than take a sick day

·3-min read

Almost a fourth of Americans prefer to "power through" common symptoms of illness like coughs, sore throats and fevers, according to new research. 

In a survey of 2,005 people, 24% of respondents identified themselves as "power through-ers."

Although reasons for this behavior varied, respondents frequently cited being able to ignore the symptoms (46%), being afraid of repercussions at work or school (43%) and feeling like they have no other choice (41%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Mucinex, the survey also found that people are most likely to power through coughing (58%), stuffy noses (57%) and sore throats (55%). 

Of those able to work remotely, 59% said they'll turn their camera off during meetings when they're sick to spare their colleagues.

On the other hand, almost seven in ten (69%), said they're more likely to skip an event after contracting a minor illness than they were before the pandemic started.

Respondents named fevers and chills (36%), headaches or migraines (30%) and sore throats (21%) as the most debilitating symptoms to try to power through.

While 37% said they would consider skipping a party, 35% would skip a meeting and 35% would skip a concert if they had a sore throat.

And just under three in 10 said they'd seriously consider skipping a wedding if their sore throat got bad enough.

When asked about the worst times to get a sore throat, 46% said it would be before giving a speech in public, while 39% said it would be before performing or singing. 

"The impact of a sore throat can be underestimated—that is, until you have one yourself. Sore throats are inconvenient, painful, and can ultimately make people miss out on things they want and need to do," said Dr. Omid Mehdizadeh, MD, Otolaryngology, and Head & Neck (ENT) surgeon based out of Santa Monica, CA. "When a sore throat presents, it's important to remember that there are options like throat sprays and lozenges to quickly relieve the pain and get back to feeling more comfortable and ready to take on the day."

The pandemic has also influenced the way people act when they're sick.

While 66% will still go out in public with minor symptoms, they're also more prone to take increased precautions.

Those safeguards include wearing a mask (61%), social distancing (59%) and limiting their time outside (54%), all habits encouraged during the ongoing public health crisis.

And the majority of those polled (78%) said they will either judge, or actively avoid interacting with noticeably sick people in public.

"Sickness, symptoms, and the anxiety surrounding them have ruled the lives and minds of so many of us for the last 18 months. While the arrival of yet another cold and flu season presents added stress and worry for many, we aim to help people who are suffering from sore throats, whether they need to focus on work, keep their household up and running, or simply want to relax without pain," said Mark Pearson, Vice President of Marketing at Reckitt.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting