While we don’t yet know with certainty the relative contributions of the three most likely modes of transmission for influenza (large droplets, small aerosols of viral laden material that remain suspended in the air for hours or days, inanimate objects like door knobs or desk tops), it is certain that if you are in the path of a cough or sneeze or even vigorous talking from someone actively shedding flu virus you are at risk. When it comes to delivering big time viral loads, nothing quite beats a vigorous cough or sneeze.
Take a look:
Of course it may not be so easy to “just stay home.” The US has pathetic sick leave policies and in these hard times doing your part to stop the spread of flu is too expensive or too dangerous (being fired). Better to take your (slim) chance that ignoring symptoms will put you in the hospital or your co-workers in the hospital — or worse. Consider Kansas:
n Kansas, about 547,000 workers ? 40 percent of the 1,365,000 workers in the state ? don’t have paid sick days, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Of the 1,110,000 private-sector employees, 47 percent lack paid sick days.
There are 255,000 federal, state and local government employees in Kansas. Federal and state employees receive sick days, but the institute estimates that 15 percent of local government employees don’t.
Workers in Kansas don’t have much legal protection. Kansas is an at-will state, meaning employers can fire anyone at any time for any reason, unless that reason violates the law. (Wichita Eagle)
So, yes. If you are spewing virus laden droplets into the breathing space of anyone near you, by all means stay home.
If you can.