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Faking the swine flu?

Faking the swine flu?



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Have you ever faked being sick to get out of work? A recent survey from Careerbuilder.com says roughly one-third of us do.

One Salt Lake man said, "Yeah, I'm pretty bad." He also admitted to killing off some non-existent relatives to ask for funeral time.

I asked a Salt Lake City restaurant worker what excuses she's faked to get out of working. She said, "Throwing up or cramps."

Would they ever fake the swine flu? One man said, "Now I will. You've given me the idea."

Great.

To sift out some of the fakers, some companies might ask for a doctor's note to prove that their employee had the H1N1 virus. This is a practice the Utah Department of Health is asking companies not to do.

Department spokesman Tom Hudachko said, "Essentially what that would do is create an undue stress on the health care system that really could push it to the brink of not being able to take care of the people who truly are sick."

Hudachko says people who do feel a little sick could swarm the emergency rooms looking for a doctor's note.

"It just puts a lot of people in doctor's offices and emergency departments who don't need to be there," he said.

Besides, it may be hard for a company to prove that an employee claiming they had H1N1 is lying. Hudachko says the H1N1 is pretty much the main virus making people sick with the flu, according to their samples.

"Of the ones that are coming back positive for influenza over the past few weeks, 100 percent of them have been the H1N1 strain," he said.

Other people say there's one red flag that could tip an employer off to whether someone is faking the swine flu. If someone says they went to their doctor's office, tested positive for swine flu and then went to the hospital, they might be lying.

Some people with the strain have gone to clinics to get tested for it, but those cases were not confirmed at those clinics. Samples were sent to state officials to confirm if it was the H1N1 virus. Other confirmed cases came from people who were already hospitalized.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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