Guilt and confusion over how best to deal with cold symptoms means that over half of Brits do not take enough time off work to recover properly, research shows.
A study from Boots shows that workers are putting others at risk of infection by coming back to work too early.
Only 8% of those surveyed admitted to taking as much time off work as they needed to recover fully.
Most Brits are not treating their cold adequately with cold remedies, and one in five claim that they do nothing but "sweat it out" when they have a cold, while half of people just take whatever is around in the medicine cabinet.
Angela Chalmers, Boots Pharmacist, said: "Battling a cold or flu afflicts all of us at some point, but this research shows that people are confused about what is the standard protocol to dealing with and treating the illness."
She adds that patients should visit a health professional who can assess their symptoms and recommend the correct treatment, "which may or may not include some time off work."
"I would agree with this. The reasoning behind this is not that we as a nation don't know that to be completely well before returning to work is what we should do. We have an ingrained mind set that we are thought of in a bad light if we do have time off for illness. This applies to flu and colds in particular" - Name and address supplied