On Easter, share your faith, not your germs

You can still worship this Sunday without spreading your cold or flu among your fellow church goers.

Easter is the holiday most likely to attract churchgoers (Christmas comes in a close second). This Sunday, more people than usual will fill places of worship, big and small, across Kentucky.

And with the Commonwealth hit by a late and widespread flu season, this seems like a good time for a few important flu prevention reminders.

“No. 1 tip: If you are sick, even though it is Easter, it is best to stay home,” said Kelley Woggon, M.Div., BCC, director of pastoral care for Norton Healthcare. It is very important to not only protect yourself but also your fellow church members. She added that on days you are sick it is still possible to worship God from home.

Many of the viruses, including the flu, enterovirus and rhinovirus—the most common respiratory illnesses being treated this time of year—are shared through an infected person’s bodily fluids, including mucus and saliva. The virus is most commonly spread when a person sneezes or coughs, or when sharing a glass or cup.

That’s why many churches that offer communion have elected to stop using a common cup as part of the sacrament. They opt to share the symbolic consecrated wine in individual cups, or allow worshipers to practice intinction, the act of partly dipping the consecrated bread into the consecrated wine before eating it.

If your place of worship still offers a common cup for communion, Rev. Woggon said it is perfectly OK to receive the bread but forgo the cup if you feel that it is best for your health or the health of others. “It is important that we share in our time of worship and being together as a community, but not share the flu,” she added.

If you are feeling better after a bout of the flu or other infection and are committed to being a part of an Easter service, consider these tips:

  • Avoid shaking hands and giving out hugs. 
  • Practice good cough etiquette by coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve. 
  • Use hand sanitizer frequently.

But if you’re still feeling sick over the Easter weekend, visit one of Norton Healthcare’s 13 different Immediate Care Centers, with convenient weekend hours, including Easter Sunday.

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