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I just recovered from strep throat, and today is my first day back at work. Since I've been absent half the week, a few coworkers have already asked where I've been during my absence, and I anticipate even more will ask.

Should I be completely honest with them, and mention that I've been sick from strep? Or, should I intentionally be vague, as to avoid the, "oh, you must have gotten that from Charles" kind of statements? If I do tell them, and other people start getting sick, whether it was actually caused by me or not, I may turn into the guy that got everyone sick, for the next considerable amount of time.

And just now, literally as I was typing this, I just had someone walk by me and say, "welcome back, sick boy!"... Did I do the wrong thing by telling people?


The reason why I'm perhaps giving extra thought to this is because most of the people I work with have families and are fairly high functioning people, so I feel like they would get actually get mad at me, or hold it against me, for not staying home a little longer. Also, from my own experience, people like assigning blame, rather than saying there's no exact rhyme or reason to something. And yes, the coworker who made that comment is quite immature, IMO, and I've actually posted about him before. But, it does show that people are talking about it, since I never mentioned it to him..

closed as off-topic by Mister Positive, Chris E, DarkCygnus, IDrinkandIKnowThings, JasonJ Sep 7 '17 at 19:51

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else. Instead of asking which decision to make, try asking how to make the decision, or for more specific details about one element of the decision. (More information)" – Chris E, DarkCygnus, IDrinkandIKnowThings, JasonJ
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    Nothing to worry about. Nothing to see here, move along. These are not the droids your looking for. – Mister Positive Sep 7 '17 at 16:36
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    @Charles "Questions asking for advice on a specific choice, such as what job to take or what skills to learn, are difficult to answer objectively and are rarely useful for anyone else." In other words, it's off-topic for a Q&A style site. – Chris E Sep 7 '17 at 17:09
  • @ChristopherEstep I'm fairly certain that most everyone gets sick as some point in their professional career, and has to deal with this experience. I don't see how the act of disclosing one's reason of absence is rare and not useful for anyone else. Thanks. – Charles Sep 7 '17 at 17:14
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    Every person's situation with illness is unique. You're asking for advice on a specific choice that applies to your unique situation. While that's applicable for a discussion forum, this is not a discussion forum. – Chris E Sep 7 '17 at 17:17
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    You asked for an explanation and I gave it. I'm not going to argue with you about it. That is why a lot of people don't explain downvotes. They don't want to debate their rationale.' – Chris E Sep 7 '17 at 17:22
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You're overthinking this - it should be a non-issue.

Yes, go ahead and tell them you were sick. It's up to you whether you want to share what you were sick with, though strep isn't usually taboo to talk about, unlike some digestive issues. Any teasing you get is likely going to be pretty harmless and will go away by next week.

You say you're worried about getting teased for getting other people sick. With strep, I'm assuming you've been on antibiotics. You could even tell them that.

I've been out with strep throat. Don't worry, I've been on antibiotics so I'm not contagious.

Really, everyone gets sick now and then, and you acted responsibly by staying home and not spreading it to the office. If they give you a hard time, you can even say as much. If someone keeps labeling you as the "sick guy" for more than a week, then they are the one acting unprofessional, not you.

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    +1 also secrecy just means people will make their own ideas anyways. – enderland Sep 7 '17 at 17:35
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I am not a doctor, but I was taught that once you have been on antibiotics for 24 hours, or without a fever for the same length of time, you are no longer contagious.

Short of debating the accuracy of these statements, as long as you follow these guidelines you are being completely responsible and professional, and should return to work as soon as you feel able to do so.

As for the comment by your co-worker--you can also look at it as a positive social interaction. He noticed that you were out, and went out of his way to acknowledge that you are back again. I would assume that he meant it as a humorous way to connect with you, unless and until he proves otherwise by some sort of rude or inappropriate behavior.

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