Sarah D: Would you like a side of flu with that burger?

Sarah Deien's daughter, Audrey, sucking on her blankie / KHQA's Sarah Deien

You can chase your kids with a can of Lysol. You can bathe them in the stuff. But they TMre going to get sick, and chances are, so are you.

Take a look at my 2-year-old Audrey. She TMs sucking on her blankey. It TMs her favorite thing in the entire world. And it TMs not just a sleep-time companion. Blankey fills other duties like wiping her runny nose and cleaning spills. It TMs germ warfare around here, and I TMm losing the battle. All four of our girls have had the flu, so I TMm guessing it TMs just a matter of time before Rich and I are contaminated.

What then? I asked my husband Rich. He said he doesn TMt have time to be sick. He has deadlines. He says he TMd have to go to work anyway. As a co-worker, he TMs the guy you try to steer clear of at all costs. Speaking of costs, a study from Harvard Business Review found employees coming in sick most likely cost companies more than all their other health costs. But who among us hasn TMt had to slug through work sick?

The Centers for Disease Control would probably ban sick employees from the workplace if it could. Spreading communicable disease is a real problem. In real life though, we often don TMt have a choice.

Consider this: the most recent research finds 42 percent of the private sector workforce does not have sick days . And the majority of those employees are the working poor. One report says 8 out of 9 hospitality and food service workers have no sick leave. Would you like a side of flu with that burger?

Try telling people who live paycheck to paycheck that they should spend a week on the couch if they have the flu. Who TMs going to pay the bills?

And then, what happens when the kids fall ill? Many parents feel like they have no choice but to send them off to school sick. That TMs a rotten deal for the sick kid, and his classmates. But again, what to do? Grandma doesn TMt want the flu. Daycare can TMt take them, and you don TMt have sick leave.

I TMm more fortunate than most. Once I sign off the air at 7:00 a.m., I go home and I TMm a mom the rest of the day. (I know, right? It TMs a great gig, except for that alarm going off at 4:00!) I can stay home with the kids when they TMre sick, no problem. As a part-time employee, I don TMt have sick days. I do have vacation days. Although it TMs not an ideal way to spend my vacation, it doesn TMt cost me money to be sick.

Let TMs start an honest discussion. Do you go into work sick? Have you sent your kids to school sick? Do we need more worker protections when it comes to sick leave, or would that just cost too much? There are no easy solutions, but maybe you have suggestions. Please share them here, or on our Facebook page.

Take care ~Sarah