Illness on the Job (Nashua) | Live Well/Work Well | Employees | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Taking Care In This Section

Illness on the Job

Please use the this information as guide if you are unsure if you should work. If you have additional questions, please contact Occupational Medicine at (603) 577-4166.

See our "Should I Work Today?" flyer (PDF)

I have a cough. Should I work today?

  • If you have a cough and fever (>100 F or 38 C within the last 24 hours)
    • No
  • If you have a new (< 2 weeks) cough, but no fever (<100 F or 38 C within the last 24 hours) and Not taking fever reducing pills (like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin)
    • Yes, but wear a mask that covers nose and mouth.
  • If you have a prolonged cough of unknown cause (more than 2 weeks)
    • Consult Occupational Medicine (577-4166) and wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth until consult completed
  • If you have a chronic cough, medically diagnosed and not caused by an infection
    • Yes, but wear a mask that covers nose and mouth when within three feet of a patient

I have a fever. Should I work today?

  • If you have a fever (>100 F or 38 C within the last 24 hours)
    • No
  • Cold symptoms (sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, ear ache) without fever
    • Yes, but if sneezing or nasal dripping wear a mask* that covers nose and mouth when within three feet of patients, or when handling or preparing food or medications intended for others.

I have skin lesions or rashes. Should I work today?

  • New rash covering large areas of the body
    • Consult Occupational Medicine before work
  • Blister or draining/oozing skin on hands
    • Cannot handle any sterile equipment or supplies or enter a room with a patient with an open wound or incision or provide direct patient or child care and
    • Cannot handle or prepare food or medications intended for others
  • Single cold sore on lips
    • Yes, but wear a mask that covers Nose and mouth when within 3 feet of a patient
  • Localized rash with blister or draining/oozing skin area other than a single cold sore on lips that is Not completely covered with occlusive dressing and clothing
    • Cannot handle any sterile equipment or supplies or enter a room with a patient with an open wound or incision and
    • Cannot provide direct patient or child care or prepare food intended for others
  • Localized rash with blister or draining/oozing skin that can be completely covered with occlusive dressing and clothing and does Not involve hands, face, or scalp
    • Cannot handle any sterile equipment or supplies or enter a room with a patient with an open wound or incision
  • Localized rash with blister or draining/oozing skin that can be completely covered with occlusive dressing and clothing and does Not involve hands, face, or scalp
    • Can work
  • Chronic skin conditions with cracks or breaks in skin
    • Optimize medical treatment of condition
  • For symptoms consistent with infection such as oozing, draining, or increased area of redness follow general recommendations outlined above
    • Consult Occupational Medicine if the condition limits ability to perform hand hygiene

I have eye conditions. Should I work today?

  • New pink or red eye or other eye condition, with drainage
    • Cannot handle any sterile equipment or supplies or enter a room with a patient with an open wound or incision or provide direct patient or child care
    • May return to work when drainage has ceased
  • New pink or red eye or other eye condition, without drainage
    • May work

I have vomiting and diarrhea. Should I work today?

  • If you have a new (< 2 weeks) vomiting or diarrhea
    • Cannot work until NO diarrhea for 48 hours and/or NO vomiting for 24 hours

Specific disease instructions

Recommendations about specific diseases will always trump general symptom guidance.

In some circumstances the guidance may seem over- or under-restrictive: When in doubt, consult Occupational Medicine

  • Single cold sore on lips.
  • Localized rash with blister or draining/oozing skin area other than a single cold sore on lips that is not completely covered with occlusive dressing and clothing.
  • Localized rash with blister or draining/oozing skin area on the face or scalp even if covered with occlusive dressing and clothing.
  • Localized rash with blister or draining/oozing skin that can be completely covered with occlusive dressing and clothing and does not involve hands, face, or scalp.
  • Chronic skin conditions with cracks or breaks in skin.
  • Wear a mask when within three feet of a patient
  • Cannot handle any sterile equipment or supplies or enter a room with a patient with an open wound or incision and
  • Cannot provide direct patient or child care or prepare food intended for others
  • Cannot handle any sterile equipment or supplies or enter a room with a patient with an open wound or incision
  • Can work
  • Optimize medical treatment of condition.

For symptoms consistent with infection such as oozing, draining, or increased area of redness, follow general recommendations outlined above

Consult Occupational Medicine if the condition limits ability to perform hand hygiene.


Minor episodic care

  • Employees who suffer from symptoms of contagious disease, such as conjunctivitis or respiratory infection.

Action

  • Employees are encouraged to call Occupational Medicine at (603) 577-4166 to speak with a nurse who will provide triage.
  • If clinically indicated, an appointment with a health care provider will be offered.
  • Incidents that require a lengthy evaluation, or are chronic in nature, will be referred to the employee's primary care provider (PCP).
  • Employees who develop acute symptoms while at work after our hours of operation may choose to be evaluated by their PCP, General Internal Medicine Clinic (by appointment), or if considered emergent, the Emergency Department.
  • Symptomatic employees should stay at home and use their sick time until they are symptom-free.

Examples of minor episodic illness

  • Cold/Flu symptoms
  • Earaches
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Minor skin irritation/burns/contusions/lacerations
  • Gastroenteritis in dietary employees
  • Strains/sprains
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Rashes

Examples of communicable disease

  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
  • Measles/Mumps/Rubella
  • Pertussis
  • Meningococcal Meningitis
  • Scabies/Lice
  • Tuberculosis
  • Diphtheria/Tetanus
  • Influenza
  • Hepatitis A
  • Rabies
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