The sickie story is like a boomerang.
At the start of each Aussie winter (read: flu season), the lights of the internet spark up with all kinds of survival tips for the chilly season ahead. And without fail, there will be a piece about making sure you take a sick day when you’re sick.
Vogue seems to be leading the march this winter, posting ‘Yes You Should Take That Sick Day – Here’s Why’ outlining the costs to both yourself and your company should you decide to soldier on with symptoms of illness. Ya know, lack of productivity, infecting others, risking long-term sickness, all that. You know the spiel.
But as we prepare to consume this butter-menthol flavoured story for yet another year, I must ask one favour: use your bloody brain.
Common sense has fallen by the wayside in regards to looking after yourself.
When it comes to health, people seem to be disconnecting from what their body is telling them, and opting to instead plug in with the teachings of Doctor Google.
According to Your Practice Online, an online medical marketing agency, eight out of ten online health inquiries start at a search engine. EIGHT out of TEN. That means almost everyone who is concerned for their health has started their search for a cure, in the search bar of their computer.
(As someone who once Googled, 'Can you get skin cancer under your toe?', I can totally believe that statistic.)
But even more frighteningly, Your Practice Online also notes that "Health information is the most searched topic on the web."
What does this say about our generation? That we are invested in our health, or that we are just a bunch of hypochondriac nerds who are convinced the freckle on their toe is a carcinogenic growth?
The Gen Y obsession with our health has spawned an army of health bloggers, many of whom are completely unqualified to give advice. Like, we're at the stage in which Vogue (VOGUE, PEOPLE) is advising us to take a sick day if we're feeling sick. Are we that far gone?
We have stopped listening to our bodies, and more importantly, scientific evidence.
"I don't want the flu vaccine this year," stated one friend recently, "because I don't want to get sick." Blinking furiously at her, I decided it was easier to hold my tongue, and not even dabble in that realm of absurdity.
Other people are refusing antibiotics because they are scared of the great 'antibiotic immunity' that is apparently set to sweep humanity like the zombie plague. I've had friends collapse, dehydrate to the point of hospitalisation, and miss weeks of work because they opted for online diagnosis as opposed to seeing a health professional.
(And when I say health professional, I include natural medicine, too: many of these practitioners are fully qualified to know when to say, "You are really sick, dude. Go to the hospital." Something Google isn't so great at...)
When did we stop trusting doctors? Moreover, when did we stop trusting our own intuition?
Whether it is what medicines to take or what rest is needed; people have stopped using their common sense, or the sense of their doctor, and started dancing to the beat of Doctor Google's drum.
So, year after year, when the internet keeps posting this inane article suggesting that yes, you SHOULD take a sick day when you're sick, it is invariably gobbled up like a chewable Vitamin C gummy bear.
I tried to think about why there might be this growing dependency on the internet for health advice, or at the very least, health sympathy. These articles stating that you should stay at home when you're sick are so obvious, yet so popular.
I guess the Aussie attitude towards 'chucking a sickie' isn't exactly encouraging.
Watch, "I chucked a sickie so I could..." below. Post continues after video...
In an article released by iHR Australia, they note with a surly attitude that, "..A survey of over 100 employers by absence-management firm Direct Health Solutions, exposes the fact that Australia's average absence levels are 8.75 days per worker, almost one-third higher than UK sick leave rates."
Okay, so, nine days a year to take off because you're too ill to be at work - is viewed as too many? Sheesh.
The report also states that "Eighty-three percent of employers believe between 10 and 25 percent of sick leave is non-genuine."
Given the snooty sentiment around taking a day off to be snotty, it is little wonder we're looking to online for assurance that a genuine sicky is not a bad thing.
Let's get back to basics, guys. Listen to your body. If it's flu season, get the flu vaccine. If you're doubled over in pain with a mystery stomachache, go and see the doctor. And if you just chopped your hand off with the kitchen knife, call 000 before typing 'severed hand' into Google.
And if you're sick, take a bloody sickie.