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Can the Sniffles Kill Your Company?

Oct 22, 2014
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It is an evergreen question in public health: just how much money do Americans lose every year in productivity to basic ailments like the common cold? Such calculations can be tricky, as they involve a number of overlapping signals – say you miss a day...

It is an evergreen question in public health: just how much money do Americans lose every year in productivity to basic ailments like the common cold?

Such calculations can be tricky, as they involve a number of overlapping signals – say you miss a day of work; you may spend $20 at the pharmacy for a nasal spray, and surely that’s worth something. One group has attempted to sort out the whole problem, and the results are fairly dramatic:

What is the lost productivity cost of refractory chronic rhinosinusitis?

A. $ 0 per year

B. $ 1,000 per year

C. $ 10,000 per year

D. $ 20,000 per year

Answer: C. $ 10,000 per year

That’s if you make around $30K a year, which is the national median.

So what’s the takeaway? Sleep a lot, don’t split sundaes with sick people, and remember to see a sinus specialist if the next time you have symptoms that linger for more than two weeks. You may be surprised how much money everyone saves when everyone stays a little healthier.

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