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Don't come to work!

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That headline’s a real attention-grabber, isn’t it? If you read the CU Denver “Sentry” newspaper, you may have noticed a very similar headline in my February column, and I figured the message was worth repeating in this space. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you don’t come to the office on a regular basis. I’m just requesting that if you’re sick, stay home. Get well. Keep your germs to yourself and don’t infect others.

Image of Vice Chancellor Raul Cardenas

Cold & flu season

Experts say this was one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory and although the number of new cases is decreasing, they’re still encouraging people who haven’t gotten a flu shot to go get one.

If you’re like me, you tend to try to power through an illness and come to the office even when we know we shouldn’t. It’s dangerous for the person who’s sick and for their colleagues who could end up getting sick, too.

My son’s experience

Many of you know that I have a son who’s attending Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. Like many college students, he doesn’t do a very good job of taking care of himself. He pushes himself all day, stays up late and doesn’t eat well – sound familiar? So, no surprise when he came down sick. It wasn’t the flu, but he was miserable.

Taking time to recover

That’s when he surprised me by doing the right thing! Rather than staying on campus and infecting his classmates, he came home and basically slept the entire weekend. He took time out and gave himself the opportunity to recover. I’m pretty sure he also wanted to be babied just a little bit!  But, whatever the reason, resting made all the difference.

Good example

As hard as it was to admit, I had to give him credit. He’d been so responsible that when I caught a nasty cold myself, I actually used him as my example.

Remember a few weeks back, I was out sick? For the first time I can remember, I actually made the choice to stay home. No one got infected because of me and I’m certain I recovered much faster than if I’d kept trying to come into work.

I think we all tend to look at the short term. We have a schedule to keep and deadlines to hit. It’s hard to look at the big picture and make the decision to just take a little time off and catch up on things later.


There’s nothing new here that you haven’t heard before but I figured we can all use a reminder from time to time. It’s like that old Robert Fulghum book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. We all learned how to keep ourselves and others healthy a long time ago, like the old 'vampire' move to cover a cough or sneeze. Remember? You just bring the top of your arm up over your mouth like you’re raising your vampire cape. There’s even a YouTube video about it!

Stay away!

So, next time you’re sick and feeling miserable, I encourage you to follow my son’s example and just stay home. You and everyone else will be glad you did. Believe me, the office work will be waiting for you when you come back!

Be healthy,


Vice Chancellor Raul Cardenas, PhD, CU Denver | Anschutz Division of Student Affairs

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