New research from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. suggests that colds have more of an economic impact than was once thought. While the report was conducted in Canada and is the first of its kind to look on the impact of colds and flu on school absenteeism, the workplace, and the economy, researchers used U.S. data to cite direct costs due to lost productivity from colds.
Researchers found this cost to be a staggering $25 billion in the U.S. When both indirect (lost productivity) and direct (doctor visits and medicine) costs are taken into account, the figure in the U.S. annually is $40 billion. It costs employers twice as much in productivity losses for employees who come to work sick than for those who stay home, researchers say.