Saving Sick Days? Americans ‘Power Through’ 84 Hours Of Work Under The Weather

NEW YORK — How often do you “power through” work when you’re not feeling well? It turns out you and your co-workers may be under the weather more often than you think. A new survey finds that the average American puts in a staggering 84 hours a year while battling a cold or some other virus.

Specifically, the survey of 2,000 adults reveals that the average person works over 10 days per year while feeling sick. Nearly half (47%) admit they’d rather power through than take a sick day. For some, they may be more inclined to power through, as they’re worried others may think they’re “dramatic” when they’re feeling unwell (34%).

Forty-eight percent of Americans remember a negative comment someone else made about how frequently they feel unwell, either due to allergies or other conditions and illnesses. Over a quarter of those surveyed (26%) say in their friend group or family, they feel like they’re the person who is most often sick or feeling unwell.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Nectar Allergy, the survey also looked at the effect of both colds and allergies on work, as well as Americans’ social lives and their wallets. In an average year, respondents miss 17 social events because they feel unwell.

While a cold, the flu, or other sickness (40%) was the biggest cause of missing out on social events, allergies (33%) also played a role for a third of respondents.

In fact, half of all respondents (49%) suffer from year-long or seasonal airborne allergies. Although a third (31%) of respondents experience FOMO — fear of missing out — due to feeling unwell, those with allergies are extra anxious about missing out compared to respondents without allergies (43% vs. 19%). 

Man working while sick
The survey of 2,000 adults reveals that the average person works over 10 days per year while feeling sick. (© Burlingham –

“It’s disheartening to see how much pressure people feel to work while unwell. Along with that, how many important occasions people miss because they’re sick, either with a cold or allergies. People don’t realize how isolating airborne allergies can be. They’re like an invisible cloud hanging over people’s heads,” says spokesperson Kenneth Chahine, Ph.D., chief executive officer and co-founder of Nectar Allergy, in a statement. “According to the study, over half of people with allergies (54%) said they’re worried about not being able to tell the difference between allergy symptoms and a contagious cold. No wonder people miss out on so much.”

Feeling under the weather not only impacts work and respondents’ social lives and relationships, but there’s also a tangible effect on their wallets.

The average person with allergies spent $207.30 in the last year to treat allergies, which is 64 percent more than the average respondent without allergies spent to treat regular colds ($126.20). In addition to the financial impact, allergies also affect respondents’ schedules. Sixty-five percent of allergy sufferers say they’ll be allocating extra time in their typical morning routine during peak allergy season to allow allergy medications to kick in and for symptoms to subside.

Along with time and money considerations, allergies can influence major life decisions. Almost half of those with allergies (46%) say they’d even be likely to move to a different city if it meant that their allergies would be less intense or go away completely.

“Whether you’re frequently sick with colds or are engaged in a battle with airborne allergies, it’s important to rest and give yourself the time you need to feel your best,” says spokesperson Shyam Joshi, M.D., chief scientific officer at Nectar Allergy. “And if you’re finding that your sick days are stacking up, you’re frequently missing out on social events, your wallet is taking a hit and your lifestyle has shifted dramatically, know that you deserve better and there are new innovative and cost-effective treatments.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Nectar Allergy between March 11 and March 14, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


  1. I fail to understand why ‘powering through’ being sick is considered a badge of honor. Same for ‘powering through’ not having enough sleep.

    It’s just plain stupid…nothing else.

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