Three-Quarters of Us Secretly Enjoy Being Sick, so We Can Stay Home, Poll Finds

The headlines about this winter’s “tripledemic” are blaring from news sites, but a majority of…

The headlines about this winter’s “tripledemic” are blaring from news sites, but a majority of Americans are facing this flu season with something other than total dread. A new poll has found that three-quarters of us secretly enjoy being sick so we can take time for ourselves, avoiding work and other obligations. 

The survey, conducted by OnePoll for Trane Residential, also gauged the most frequently missed events because of illness (or “illness”), must-have foods and drinks, and who’s more annoying when sick: You, your spouse, or a child.  Read on to find out more about what may be Americans’ guiltiest pleasure.

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The survey of 2,000 homeowners found that a full 74% of us enjoy being sick and staying home. During that time, about 40% disconnect and unplug from the internet and social media, while nearly a third (32%) enjoy practicing some self-care and pampering.

The average person gets sick and has an opportunity to play hooky three times a year, while nearly half (47%) are ill four times or more. One in five people said they usually catch an illness from their child (22%) but are generally more worried about catching something at the office (33%) than at home (12%).

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The most common events people report missing because of illness are birthday parties (37%), sporting events (33%), weddings (32%), job interviews (31%) and dates (30%). The concept of liking being sick is a favorite topic of Reddit’s /r/unpopularopinions page. One Redditor argued it was “not unpopular … sometimes it’s nice to not need any other excuse other than I’m sick, I’ll deal with it when I’m better.”

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The survey found that favorite foods and beverages during recovery from illness include hot tea (27%) and chicken noodle soup (26%). Possibly surprising: pizza (19%) and pancakes (17%) ranked highly. “I looove eating chicken noodle soup with egg when I’m sick,” said a Redditor on /r/unpopularopinions. “So cozy I get to do nothing all day and be comfy. Plus, everyone in the house always treats you nicely.”

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Other necessities when feeling sick: over-the-counter medications (43%), a favorite blanket or comforter (28%) and easy access to control their home’s temperature (26%). The top annoyance: Being unable to enjoy favorite foods while sick (35%). Runners-up included pets making noises or wanting to cuddle (25%) and noise from neighbors (21%).

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It’s the eternal contest: Is a child or spouse more irritating when they get sick? It’s nearly a draw. Several more people said their child is the most challenging patient (29%) instead of themselves (14%). More than a quarter of those surveyed say their spouse is the most annoying person while sick (27%). And almost half of respondents (48%) report getting a headache when caring for the most difficult patient in their household, mostly because of that person’s exaggeration of their symptoms.