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Some Flu-Stricken Workers Wonder: Go To Job, Or Stay Home Without Pay?

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Some people who have succumbed to the flu face a dilemma: Go to work or stay home?

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker talked with one Chicago man who says he can’t afford to miss work.

So far, Ed Eagins has missed two days of work.

He was hoping to be released from the hospital Monday, with doctor’s orders to take medicine and rest for another five days. But Eagins planned to go back to work.

“I need the money,” he tells Tucker. “I can’t pay the bills if i can’t work.”

He works for a temporary agency as a forklift operator. Missing two days of work has already cost him about $200.

“If you don’t come in, they might let you go, so, I’m going to try to go to work,” Eagins says.

He is among the many temporary, part-time or hourly workers who experts like Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer say drag themselves out of their sick beds when they should consider staying home.

“The concern they have about losing their job needs to be balanced against the concern about whether they can be safe in a job,” she says.

The physician argues that sick people risk making mistakes or having an accident that could permanently cost them their jobs.

She says employers need to be understanding and remember that sick workers can hurt profits.

Because this flu season is expected to be among the worst in a decade, experts say business owners should encourage their workers to practice good hygiene and offer them flu shots.

It’s getting harder to find a flu shot, but the good news is that people are getting their vaccinations, the state health department says.

More flu doses are heading to Chicago pharmacies. Jewel-Osco expects 7,000 extra doses of the vaccine to arrive Tuesday and Wednesday

“Our stores are working together to keep each and every store equipped with vaccines so when patients come in they can receive flu shot,” said Tonya Payton-Campbell, a Walgreens pharmacy manager.

“As we already know there is a that vaccine works,” Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday. “Even now, no matter how late in season you can get a vaccine, and it’s very important to spread the word.”

Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, of the Illinois Department of Public Health, also urged the public to take additional precautions.

“Practice good hygiene, wash your hands often and cover your coughs,” said Hasbrouck, who added the people suffering symptoms should stay home and not spread the virus.