Tips to keep your co-workers healthy when you're sick on the job

SPOKANE, Wash. - Sick at work vo

Most of us know to stay home when we're sick, not only so we can get better but to keep from spreading your illness to co-workers. But not everyone we work with practices that general rule.

So what do you do when you absolutely have to go to work?

Kim Papich with the Spokane Regional Health District has some tips on what to do if you're sick on the job.

"Ideally we need people to be fever free for 24 hours before they go back to work," she said.

Papich also said to avoid close contact with co-workers, confine yourself to a cubicle or other space away from people in your office and to wash your hands frequently, especially after using the restroom.

"Covering your coughs with your sleeves, another great time to wash your hands is if you have to blow your nose or if you cough or sneeze," she added.

If soap and water isn't available, make sure to keep alcohol-based hand sanitizer around. Another way to be considerate is to sanitize the things you use that other people share.

Papich says contagiousness is really a five to seven day window after you're first ill 

"Hopefully you have seen your healthcare provider, hopefully you're doing whatever you need to do to treat that bacterial infection but certainly after five days you're probably not as contagious as you were when you were first experiencing symptoms, especially if you had a fever," she said.

Above all else, practice common sense. Stay home if you can, but if you have to go to work do everything in your power to keep your germs to yourself.