Is a Cold Sore a Good Reason to Miss Work?

While coping with a cold sore can be difficult in its own right, the decision to miss work can also be a concern. This is especially true if you have a job in a hospital or working with food in a restaurant environment.

Should nurses, medical support, waitresses, canteen staff, and others go to work with cold sores? Are there cold sore remedies that work overnight? If you have any of these sorts of concerns, you’ve come to the right place to get your questions answered.

Although the desire to heal or cover up your cold sore fast for vanity reasons is understandable, the decision to call in sick is different. Whenever your health impacts your livelihood (loss of income, the risk of termination, etc.) the stakes are naturally raised. This is when you must ask yourself, is a cold sore a reason to miss work?

We aim to help you decide if it is okay to work with a cold sore. If you make your living working with food or in a hospital, this decision will be particularly important. Additionally, we will detail what actions to take if you get a cold sore for the first time (known as a primary outbreak). Various cold sore healing and treatment methods will also be covered.

Should I Call in Sick with a Cold Sore?

The answer can be quite subjective and rather detailed. While your livelihood is your business, it is important to evaluate your situation. This is critical in terms of your overall health and occupational responsibilities.

The answer, in most cases, is a resounding no. While you might be completely mortified by your cold sore, your employer likely will not care. In most professions, you are expected to be at work unless something significant has arisen.

While embarrassment is real, not to negate the human aspect, you should go to work with a cold sore. This is especially true if your occupation is not hands-on as it relates to people. If you work in a factory or stock shelves, for example, a facial blemish or red blister is not a reason to miss work.

It is important to note that certain jobs can fall under a gray area. In occupations where keeping others healthy is paramount, missing work due to a cold sore could be acceptable. Perhaps even required. However, this is quite rare.

Questions to Ask Yourself before Missing Work

  • Is it generally okay to call in sick? No. With plenty of treatments available, in addition to invisible cold sore cover ups, it should be fine to work. The risk of negative attention is not a valid excuse to stay home.
  • Are there cases where you should stay home? Yes. As will be covered shortly, some occupational risks do exist. This is specifically true if your livelihood demands quality health and hygiene. Are you paid to be responsible for the health of others? If so, you could be an exception.
  • Are you sick or do you just have a cold sore? If you are showing signs of illness, as you would do during the primary infection, then action should be taken. If you are experiencing a fever, for example, then calling in sick would be wise.

Working in a Hospital with Cold Sores

Although the “get up and go” mentality can be used in many occupations, hospital work is a different story. Whenever you are dealing with the health of others, it is important to be healthy yourself.

Having a cold sore and working in a hospital means that you need to know the health regulations. While many hospitals are different, it is wise to find out the rules of your employer.

Can nurses work with cold sores? In the most literal sense, the answer is yes. The use of a mask would be paramount. After all, preventing the spread of the virus and other germs is its main function. Additionally, cold sore patches and cover ups can be helpful. They can not only serve to heal the sore but prevent a negative reaction.

If you have an existing sore or are in the midst of a cold sore outbreak, simply contact the hospital. Let your employer know your situation and then act accordingly. While unlikely, it is possible that you could be asked to stay home. However, this would depend on your job description and the severity of your outbreak.

How to Keep Your Patients Safe

  • Contact your employer. Consult with the hospital and tell them about your situation before starting your shift. Follow the protocol set forth by your hospital. This is critical for many reasons.
  • Purchase healing creams and patches to heal and treat your cold sore. The Compeed Invisible Cold Sore Patch is useful. As it relates to fast healing, HERP-B-GONE Cream and the Virulite Device are also recommended.
  • Place others first. Hospital work is hands-on. While taking action to heal your cold sore is important, it is equally important to do right by others. This is something to consider when it comes to calling in sick.

Serving Food in a Restaurant or Canteen

Quite similar to hospital work, the food industry can present its own set of challenges due to person-to-person contact. In a world where the customer is always right, those in restaurant service are expected to meet certain standards.

If you are trying to treat a cold sore, being a waiter/waitress or cook can be very difficult. In a field where hygiene and presentation are key, knowing if you should call in sick can be tough.

On the surface, we can all likely agree that cold sores and working with food are not a good combination. However, just as in the case of hospital work, allow your employer to make the final decision. Unless told otherwise you are probably expected to be at work when your shift begins.

If you are looking for an emergency treatment, the Compeed Invisible Cold Sore Patch can conceal your blemish. This is very important if you work on the floor as a waiter or waitress. Paying customers would rather see the beauty of their meal, not a distracting and nasty blister.

Serving food with a cold sore can be difficult. Both from a self-conscious aspect as well as brand promotion. Every restaurant tries to portray a positive image. It is important to do right by your employer and the paying customers, above all else.

Protecting Your Employer & Customers

  • Contact the restaurant before deciding to dismiss your shift. If your employer is OK with you working, then you are expected to start your shift as per normal. Protecting your livelihood should take precedence, but each employer will have a different policy on this issue.
  • Take steps to treat and heal. As noted earlier in this material, various creams, ointments, and patches can serve you well. This is critical if you are currently serving food. The objective is to protect yourself while also protecting others.

Should you take the day off work when you have cold sores?

Getting a Cold Sore for the First Time

Like many health issues, dealing with a cold sore for the first time can be a bit unsettling. Especially if you are not familiar with the HSV-1, what it does, and how it spreads. When that tiny spot of irritation becomes something more, it is only natural to be worried.

While the initial symptoms of a cold sore rarely change, the first time around can be problematic. Typically beginning with a mild tingle on the lip or mouth region, a small and painful blister begins to form.

Once the blister is prominent, a breakout of additional blisters will likely occur. These sores usually arise in the same general region. Although, an outbreak on the face, including the nose and chin, is not uncommon.

As the days progress the blisters, especially the smaller cold sores, will burst. The area(s) will then crust over, develop a scab, and begin to heal. From start to finish the ordeal will typically last two to four weeks.

However, in respect to the topic, your first cold sore outbreak can carry other symptoms. Being mindful of the following issues is paramount.

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Body/muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

When is emergency action necessary? You are advised to see a doctor if your symptoms are severe and show no signs of healing. If you experience this level of sickness, the act of calling in sick from work would be advised.

Public-Facing Jobs And Cold Sores

Regarding livelihood, going to work is paramount for most. In most cases, it is expected.

While appearance is everything, at least in the eyes of our ego, your boss just wants reliable staff and to avoid reputation-related issues. In other words, the image of the business matters more than your ego. Your boss may not want someone at work who has an open cold sore.

Calling in sick can be tricky. Treating a cold sore with the Virulite Cold Sore Machine is much easier by comparison, and it can significantly reduce the healing time. Giving in to the age of medicine is a safer bet than trying to convince a demanding boss.