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The Hero may be sick, but that doesn't mean the action is going to stop. Either they are just that dedicated to their job, or fate is being extra cruel by throwing them a situation only they can handle, healthy or not. Other characters may try to keep this person in bed, but it's all in vain.

Naturally, this tends to put the hero at a handicap. If the mission involves stealth, he may find himself in need of an Anti-Sneeze Finger. Malfunction Malady could be invoked if the hero has powers or magic.

Compare I Can Still Fight, for the Serious Injuries version.

Sub-Trope of Sick Episode.



  • In the Cardcaptor Sakura episode "Sakura's Dizzy Fever Day", Sakura has a fever but tries to perform her school and Magical Girl duties anyway. she can barely do it with Syaoran and Meiling's help, and then passes out in bed. good thing that Nadeshiko's ghost uses her own energy to help her a little.

Comic Books

  • Frequently happens to Spider-Man in the comics, most notably during the famous story in which Gwen Stacy dies.
    • On another occasion he fought Doctor Octopus while seriously ill. Octopus defeated him, unmasked him, and was convinced by Peter's classmates that Parker couldn't possibly be Spider-Man, especially given the feeble fight he'd put up, and he was just dressing up. Years later during Civil War, Peter reveals his identity, and Ock goes on a rampage at the realization that he'd not only been repeatedly defeated by a teen, but had known the truth for years.
  • Not even Superman is immune to this trope. He gets unexpectedly sick for a number of issues starting with a bad cough. The Parasite drains his powers and catches the infection too. Towards the end he develops a sickly green glow as he gets sicker but he doesn't have time to rest since Lois ends up missing. Turns it he was infected with some sort of kryptonite virus.
  • Invoked for considerable dramatic effect during the Batman storyline Knightfall. Bruce Wayne is already suffering from sleep deprivation and the flu when Bane engineers a mass breakout at Arkham Asylum... and is waiting for him when he finally staggers back into the manor.

Live Action TV

  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Kimberly is sick with a cold during season 3's tripart opener, "A Friend In Need". She has to stay behind resting while the other rangers travel to Edenoi. However, Zedd and Rita send down a monster, forcing Kimberly to fight in spite of her illness. It's a tough fight, but the monster catches her cold and has to return to the moon so that Finster can cure it.
  • The Parks and Recreation episode "Flu Season". Leslie keeps working and insisting that she is not sick, despite being obviously ill to the point of having fever hallucinations.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer once ended up in a hospital bed with a nasty fever. But it soon became evident something needed to be slain, and she was still feverish when she confronted it.
  • In one episode of Head of the Class, Arvid has the flu, but refuses to stay home because it will disrupt the perfect attendance record he has maintained since kindergarten. As a result, the entire high school catches it, to the point where he is apparently the only person in the building by the end of the episode.
  • Piper does it twice on Charmed/ In season 1 episode The Wendigo, Piper is exhausted, feverish, and having dizzy spells at work, but stays in because, well, Piper's like that. In season 2 Awakened, she's having coughing fits and "feels funky," but she stays at work until she collapses. Both situations are gross because Piper serves food.

Western Animation

  • On The Simpsons, a Japanese worker goes to work despite having the flu, and coughs inside a box that's bound for Springfield.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Batman comes down with a cold after being exposed to Mr. Freeze's ice ray. Still he has to go out and stop the villain (after all he's the God Damn Batman!) Alfred makes him take a thermos of chicken soup with him — which ultimately saves the day as Batman defeats Freeze by using the thermos to smash his containment suit's helmet.
  • Kim Possible had an episode where both heroes and villains work through the cold. Kim, Drakken, Ron, Shego and Duff Killigan all end up with colds as they take turns stealing an experimental ray back and forth from each other — none of them knowing what it does. Ultimately the ray gun gets destroyed and ironically it turns out it was designed to cure the common cold.
  • Ben 10 caught a cold in one episode, and his symptoms carried over into his alien morphs, clogging Wildmutt's heat sensors, giving Four-Arms a smelly rash, and changing Heatblast's powers from fire to ice. He took advantage of the latter, cooling down a nuclear reactor that was being attacked by villains.