POSTED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 4:44pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 7:43pm
Tyler, TX — This flu season is hitting hard and close to home right here in East Texas, and some people still forget how contagious it really is. You probably think you're doing everything you can to prevent getting sick, and then when you least expect it, you just might catch the flu with communion.
Stephanie Taylor from the N.E. Public Health District said they are seeing a lot of flu cases in the area. She says the flu is spread mainly by what's called "droplets." "Either when a person who has the flu coughs or sneezes, and those droplets will land in the mouth, nose, or eyes, of someone else," said Taylor. She says you're contagious the day before you develop symptoms and 5-7 days after being sick.
It might not be the first thing on your mind, but experts are warning one of the top ways to catch the flu is sharing the same cup. Next time you head to mass, you might want to reconsider shaking hands and pass on communion.
Sister Susan Seitz from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception said, "At the greeting of peace just bow to each other or shake hands, and then receiving Eucharist by the host bread, in your own hand rather than from the cup." The bishop here in Tyler sent out an email to all the priests with tips to keep the churches germ-free. Seitz said, "Anytime it's been recommended by the health department, or spreading like it is, we want to take those precautions."
Experts say you should wash your hands regularly and not rely on hand sanitizer.