National Sickie Day

Struck down on National Sickie Day? Make sure you know your first aid

As the nation braces itself for 'National Sickie Day', we are issuing advice for the most common ailments people phone in sick with.

The first Monday in February is the day which has traditionally seen the highest number of UK employees absent from work through sickness. The 2017 figures are expected to be higher than previous years as certain illnesses could be more prevalent this time around with the day falling on the first weekend after Dry January, the first post-Christmas pay day, Super Bowl Sunday and the start of the six nations.

The Employment Law Experts (ELAS) predicts that approximately 350,000 people will call in sick, costing the UK economy around £45 million in wages, lost hours and overtime.

For those of you struck down with illness on 'National Sickie Day', here's some advice for the most common ailments people may be suffering from:


Sit or lie down somewhere quiet, and hold something cold against your head. This could be a bag of peas, or ice wrapped in a cloth, or a cold compress if you have one (apply for no more than ten minutes). Not getting better? You can take the recommended dose of pain killers, such as paracetamol (for adults only).

Get more first aid advice on headaches


Enjoyed your post-Dry January weekend a little too much? Dehydration is one of the main causes of hangover symptoms. Make sure you drink lots of water and/or an oral rehydration solution to stay hydrated.

Get more first aid advice on dehydration

Vomiting and diarrhoea

Vomiting and diarrhoea are usually caused by irritation of the digestive system and can occur together or separately. Both can be triggered by parasites, viruses or bacteria and it causes the body to lose essential salts and fluids risking dehydration. When you’ve stopped vomiting, sip a glass of water or unsweetened fruit juice. Take frequent small sips to help replace the fluid you have lost. When you are feeling hungry again, eat foods that are easily digested, such as bread, pasta or potatoes for the first 24 hours.

Get more first aid advice on vomiting and diarrhoea

Food poisoning

Eaten a dodgy Super Bowl party hot dog? You may feel the effects of food poisoning within a few hours, and will often be sick or have diarrhoea. However, in some cases it can take up to three days to get over food poisoning. If you think you might have food poisoning, these are the six key things to look for: feeling sick, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, headache, or fever. The most important thing is to drink water so you don’t get dehydrated and/or an oral rehydration solution.

Get more first aid advice on food poisoning


Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually start to feel better within a week. For advice on symptoms or how to treat flu, visit NHS Choices.