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Saturday 24th March 2018

If you are sick, stay at home

6th January 2009

Philip Johnston lambasts the selfish, sickly heroes who battle on to work with coughs and colds.


Standing on a train or bus, determined to get to work despite feeling ill, is "Virus Man."

He coughs and splutters, oblivious to fellow passengers, who are suddenly more likely to get a cold or flu because of the disease-laden droplets he is spraying into the carriage.

Virus Man, who can infect those around him with one sneeze, thinks he is brave by struggling into work.

Imagining that he is indispensible to his employer, he struggles on but without one crucial accessory: a handkerchief.

Those around him silently pose the question: why don't you stay at home?

Cold remedy makers Benylin suggested doing just that in their TV advert, urging cold sufferers to stay in bed and not venture in to work.

However, that piece of sensible piece advice invoked the wrath of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which has referred Benylin to the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that it is encouraging people to "throw a sickie".

The FSB intimated that people with "just a cold" should still try to get to work.

But if they infect those around them, how is that better for a company?

With modern technology, it is not impossible for people to work from home. Indeed, air conditioning in offices often speeds up the transmission of viruses.

In Japan, at least cold sufferers wear masks to avoid spreading germs.

Virus Man should stay at home, because he is a pest.


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