Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is it okay to attend a social event when you are sick?

The weekend before last, I attended a formal sit-down bridal shower. We had assigned seats. One of the gals, I will call her Mary, was seated between me and a gal who was nine months pregnant. She turned her chair towards me saying I have a terrible cough and would hate to have the pregnant gal catch it. She proceeded to cough in my direction throughout the meal and the shower.

Needless to say, I now have a terrible cough. This morning as my husband tried to convince me to go to urgent care I said, "Why didn't Mary just stay home? I know I caught this from her." DH said, "Now you don't know that, if you were sick you probably still would have attended."

In this instance most likely because I am the bride's Aunt, but that is not always the case. I missed my neighborhood cookie exchange last winter cuz I felt my neighbors wouldn't appreciate my germs right before the holidays. I am not going to my professional association board meeting tonight and am considering not attending a family party next weekend if I am not feeling better.

What do you do in these instances? Attend feeling miserable and spend the event coughing into your Kleenex because you don't want to miss out? Or stay home send a note saying you were ill?

All I can say is from the guests’ perspective; I wish Mary would have stayed home. I don't ever remember being sick in summer before. Not to mention the time I have had to take off from work.



  1. Never acceptable!! Never. Bad enough that she exposed the pregnant lady, but that was just plain selfish.

    there are too many drug resistant bugs around these days, and too many people with compromised immune systems. One should never knowingly take germs to a party.

    Sorry, kiddo, but you need to stay home until you are well, too!

  2. Anonymous9:53 AM

    I'd stay home. First of all, you cannot enjoy yourself when you're feeling miserable. Second, it's not fair to the others at the function who are feeling fine. I probably would have told the woman, who didn't want to get the pregnant woman sick, that I was pregnant too, though not yet showing.
    Just stopping by from LBS!

  3. Webb,
    You are right. She should have stayed home. Believe me I was cursing her all week. I missed three days of work and the family party. I kept replaying her comment "I have a terrible cough." As my friend Dennis says "Spreading germs does not ratee as a social grace."

  4. Monica,
    Good comeback. To be honest I didn't think to much about her being sick at the time. I guess I thought if she was that sick she would have stayed home. If something like this ever happens again I don't know what I'll say, but I won't knowingly sit by someone who is sick again. This was awful.

  5. I understand why people feel they *must* attend social events no matter what....but...as a person who has had cancer, I beg you! Please stay home. Even though I am much better now, my immune system will be forever susceptible to your germs. I once sat next two a sick kid for TWO MINUTES and caught a flu that stayed with me for two weeks.

  6. Heidi,
    I didn't know you were a cancer survivor. I hope all is well now. And thanks for helping get the message out. STAY HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK.

    I say this about work and social occasions. Nobody needs to see you so badly, for the most part, that they'd be willing to take on illness for the pleasure, so what's the point? If they're good friends or family you'll be seeing them again.

    And stay home for yourself, too--much better to rest and recuperate than force yourself to go out and get more tired.

  8. That is so awful. And rude. Even doctor's offices have signs now telling you that if you're sick, you have to at least stop by the desk and get a mask. It is never ok to cough all over people. I am sure the pregnant gal ended up getting sick too. Germs aren't really directional. :)

    I love your blog! I will add you to my blogroll.