• The workplace is revealed as one of the worst places to have a cold.
  • Almost one-third of people think those with cold symptoms should stay at home.
  • More than four-fifths think people should be educated on coughing and sneezing etiquette.

As cold and flu season approaches, businesses could struggle to maintain attendance, as almost one-third of Brits (30%) believe that people who are coughing and sneezing should stay at home.

Leading cough, cold and flu relief brand Benylin surveyed 2,000 people in the UK to understand how Brits feel about displaying cold symptoms outside of the home.

Over two-fifths (42%) feel uncomfortable about coughing and sneezing in public, almost one in three people (28%) feel embarrassed about displaying these symptoms in public, and almost a quarter (21%) are worried about people staring when they do, according to the research.

The workplace was revealed as one of the top 10 worst places to have a cold, as identified by one in 10 people (10%). This could prompt many to avoid coming to work during cold and flu season.

An estimated 54 million working days were lost because of minor illnesses last year, according to the Office for National Statistics[1]*. A minor illness includes coughs, colds, flu, sickness, nausea, and diarrhoea.

Benylin’s research revealed that 84% of respondents think people should be educated on coughing and sneezing etiquette. To help people feel more comfortable in public, and improve workplace hygiene, the brand has compiled three health habits that can be introduced today.

Health Habits for Employees 

  1. Avoid close contact with people exhibiting cold and flu symptoms.
  2. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.


Health Habits for Business Stakeholders 

  1. Encourage hand hygiene with educational signage in relevant locations.
  2. Provide easy access to hand sanitiser, running water, and liquid soap.
  3. Maintain a clean office environment, including regular sanitisation of frequently touched items such as keyboards, doorknobs, and desks.

Practising and promoting good hygiene protects your health and the health of those around you.


Aimée van Vlaanderen, Brand Manager at Benylin, comments: “Experiencing cold and flu symptoms can have a physical and emotional toll, as a result of a viral infection. It’s important that people take steps to feel better and to ward off future illness, which is why we have created a guide to cold and flu relief.

“Practicing good hygiene in the workplace can be more difficult, due to the high volume of people in one space. We would recommend seeking advice from government and healthcare professionals. The UK Health Security Agency, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, and NHS England provide best-practice advice and information.”

For further research findings, and suggestions for cold and flu relief, visit https://www.benylin.co.uk/phlegmbarrassment-and-coughing-in-public