There has been a lot of talk in recent days about a huge outbreak of the flu. With this reportedly one of the worst outbreaks in recent years, from what has been noted by some news organizations, it’s understandable that this is getting a lot of attention.
I don’t know about you, but I can remember a few past episodes of the flu even though they were years ago. One time, in particular, was marked by 104+ degree fever and missing 3 days of work. When I returned, it was only out of pressure. The whole experience really served as one great example of why it sometimes takes getting sick to really value your health. I haven’t forgotten that time. I would have given anything at that time to end that temporary misery!
This gets me thinking again about health and money, which I periodically discuss here as you might know. Specifically, in this case, the cost of getting the flu for many of us.
Of course, the most important thing is the actual misery that we go through when dealing with a really bad case of the flu, as well as the impact that has on our responsibilities to others. However, secondarily, there is also the impact on our finances.
Missing Work Due to the Flu
As I mentioned above, many years ago I had to miss 3 days with the flu. I was right out of college, and was known to be a huge sports fan. I happened to miss days right at the beginning of March Madness, which got me some teasing over the phone when I called in. Keep in mind, there was no working from home or smartphones then (yeah, I guess I’m dating myself a bit here). Anyway, the teasing was probably good natured, but I knew by the tone of the conversation that there was a hint of pressure to come back. I’ve shared a story about this place in the past, involving an unpaid bonus, so if you’ve read that you may get the idea of why I might have been a bit concerned.
Companies don’t like dealing with people missing work, that’s the bottom line. I have been salaried, but for some people, it could actually mean hourly wages or freelance work lost. That’s no fun!
Also, if you’re burning your time off, it’s valuable time that’s lost. Those days off can be precious!
Losing Time for Personal Projects
Have a list of things that you need to get done in your life? These could be tasks around the house, or other projects. By getting the flu and being home on the sofa, you’re delaying getting your own things done. Hopefully none of the things being put off cost money, but you never know – they might!
For most people, a visit to the doctor isn’t free. Even if it’s just a matter of some kind of copay, you’re still paying. If someone doesn’t have insurance, those costs could be much higher. With health care costs a big burden for many people these days, who wants to spend more money on it? Whether it’s $25, $50, $100, or more – such expenses can add up
Perhaps you might just be dealing with OTC products. Or, maybe things get bad enough that you end up needing a prescription for something. Either way, you just might be spending some money on things that may give you some comfort in dealing with the illness or maybe even speeding up your recovery. Perhaps this will be $10, maybe $20 – or it could cost even more.
What to do? Well, I’m no doctor (and no, I don’t play one on TV), but I got a flu shot and have been fine so far. Not sure that guarantees anything, but presumably that gives someone a better chance to avoid problems, right? That and washing hands/using hand sanitizer has been my approach. Not too time consuming, but it’s a small price to pay to ourselves what might be a better chance to avoid getting sick. Not to mention avoid the financial aspects of it!
My Questions for You
While of course health is most important, do you ever think of the financial costs of being sick?
Have you ever had to take a few days off work for a bad case of the flu?
What steps do you take to put yourself in better position to avoid getting such an illness?