How to Work When You're Sick

So this past weekend, one of two things happened. Either the rain blew in some unbelievably awful allergen or J gave me his disease but either way, I ended Sunday night with a sore throat and by Monday, I was a mess. Sneezing, coughing, stuffy (and also somehow runny?) nose, the whole shebang. I was in denial for most of Monday but by Tuesday morning, it was undeniable: I was sick.

I'm pretty sure it was allergies but that didn't give me a while lot of confidence that I was capable of reading, much less higher level thinking. I also had my interview, which was somewhat time sensitive, which I really wanted to ace. During my lunch break, I took to the Internet and searched through no less than fifty columns about how to work while sick. I polled co-workers. I asked strangers in the hall. Here's the best advice I found:

1. Ginger root tea. It sounds (and tastes) pretty awful but it makes you sound infinitely less congested. I added grated fresh ginger, honey, and lemon to boiling hot water and I drank it. I almost stopped but the thought of sounding like a walking sinus infection kept me pushing through to the bottom of the glass and you know what? I not only sounded less congested but I felt like it too!

2. Or any tea, really. The caffeine is a welcome boost and the hot water is so soothing on the throat. Plus, I read just about everywhere that breathing in steam opens up your sinuses.

3. Pack your meds. If you take medicine, pack it. Especially if it's the kind you take every 4 hours. You'll want it every 4 hours. Trust me.

4. Hydrate. This one may seem obvious since just about every website out there says it, but I went through 3 Camelbaks full of water a day when I was feeling terrible. Plus, everyone kept telling me to drink water so there must be truth to that statement.

5. Eat, even if you don't want to. When I'm sick, I tend to lose my appetite but low blood sugar isn't going to do my any favors. I usually stick to mild to bland flavors (like warm soup or a grilled cheese).

6. Concealer and blush are your best friends. When I told my sister I was going to have to go to an interview with high octane allergies, her response was, "Make sure you wear a lot of makeup." And it's truly amazing the difference good makeup application can make. Tinted moisturizer, concealer, and blush took my pale, sunken cheeks and the dark circles into my eye into the picture of health. Plus people stopped asking me if I was sick, so that was nice.

7. Use Vaseline generously. My work doesn't have the softest tissues (like, they don't spring for the ones with aloe. I don't usually either, so I don't blame them) which meant that after a day of blowing my nose consistently, I'd chafed it red. It wasn't a good look. Ever since I was little, my mom taught me that the best quick-fix for ultra dry skin was vaseline. Before bed, I put some under my nose and on my lips and woke up chafed-skin-free!

I hope you guys have immune systems of steel and never have to deal with things as annoying as allergies or cold, but if you do, I hope these tips help!


  1. I hate being sick at work! During our busy season in the winter I am almost guaranteed to get sick at least once! I try to prevent it by drinking copious amounts of vitamin C, but I always fall victim eventually. I'm going to have to try some gingeroot tea, never heard that one before! Another good thing I do is bring my own soft tissues if my work is providing rough ones, but I agree a little Vaseline always works wonders overnight!

    Laura Aime Vous

  2. Meds, water, makeup and plenty of vaseline (colds and dry skin are best friends :P) are lifesavers for sure! I feel so bad that you had to power through all that whilst you had your interview, but I hope it went well and you're feeling better Ally! Sending lots of good vibes your way :)


  3. These are great! I've never heard about Ginger root tea - I have a ginger juice I buy when I'm feeling under the weather (or I make some in the juicer). Works a treat! I'm also a big olive leaf extract user when I get sick - gets rid of all the phlegm!

  4. Going to an interview when you're not feeling well is the worst. I hope it went well!

    I'm strictly in the "stay at home" bandwagon because I'd hate to get others sick, but sometimes there are things you just can't miss.

  5. Having to work when you're sick is one of the worst things. These are all such great tips and I hope you are feeling better!


  6. Having to work when you're sick is one of the worst things. These are all such great tips and I hope you are feeling better!


  7. I swear by ginger tea, too. These are great tips though!