sick notes

So much has changed since the days of house visits from doctors. Now, if you want to see a popular doctor in town, appointments can be booked out 6 months in advance and that’s just for a regularly scheduled visit. If you have a sudden malady you are marching down to the urgent care facility or ER to get your antibiotics or steroids. Or, conversely many people decide to skip out on going to the doctor altogether in the hopes that they can beat it on their own. It’s understandable that some people take this approach given how difficult it can be to get into the office, but the reality of the situation is this: regardless of how silly or redundant it might seem, getting a doctor’s note for even just a minor illness is still good practice.

In a world where getting medical treatment can be as easy as going to the quick clinic at your local pharmacy, doctor’s note often seem like a thing of the past. Many employers have a grace period built into their absence policy so the note seems pretty useless, but this is definitely not the case. While it is just a piece of paper with your doctor’s unintelligibly written signature on it, it represents so much more. It shows that even though it was not necessary or within the official policy for you to get the note, you still went on your day off to go get it. This is especially powerful because employers often automatically assume that an absent employee-even one who may have given notice-is usually faking it for a day by the pool and maybe some margaritas with lunch. Even if you’re not telling the truth and you really weren’t sick, employers will appreciate the fact that you were willing to try and prove your innocence. If you are telling the truth then it’s doubly true.

Beyond saving face, there is another factor that should be considered. More serious illnesses rarely come out of nowhere. For example, pneumonia is usually started by an untreated respiratory infection that has lingered for too long. When something common like a strep infection goes on for too long it has the potential to turn into a deadly case of bacteremia. While this may sound scary, the truth is that going to the doctor’s office and getting the note could save you from serious illness down the road. One of the primary reasons why people push off going to get a doctor’s note is fear. They are afraid that by addressing a minor s symptom such as a back aches or a minor cough, that they could uncover something much more acutely dangerous. This sort of head-in-the-sand mentality provides minor comfort in the short term but truly can place a potentially sick person in danger. In the simple act of getting out of bed and heading to your doctor’s office for a note, you could potentially be saving yourself some serious trouble down the road.

Next time you feel that familiar dragging sensation as you get out of bed on Sunday morning; just remember you’re doing everyone a favor by getting that note.

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