Spreading the Word, Not the Germs

| September 20, 2009

Spreading the word without spreading germs. How can churches make sure that happens?

Churches, generally a sanctuary for prayer, are now a possible breeding ground for the swine flu and church leaders are on alert. At some Catholic churches, they’re already taking precautions.

"As part of our Catholic tradition, we recite the "Our Father," and at that time we typically hold hands," said Deacon Mark Bucon. "So, if you’re not feeling well. Maybe you feel like a little sore throat’s coming on, you’re not feeling your best, please feel free to refrain from holding another person’s hands."

If members are worried about germs, they can choose to opt out of dipping into the Holy Water.

As for communion, they can choose to take the Eucharist by hand rather than on their tongue, and even though the chalice is wiped clean, they can choose to not drink.

"If you have a cold, please don’t come to church. If you have a soar throat, please don’t drink from the cup," Bucon said.

For Muslims, this is an important time to come together.

"If any one of them feels any one of the symptoms of the flu, whether it’s regular flu or swine flu, don’t come to the mosque. They can pray at home," said Imam Taha Hassane, director of the Islamic Center in San Diego.

It’s also a busy time for the Jewish community. During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, thousands turn out to celebrate.

"We come together and we see so many people that we don’t see regularly during the year, but we really want everyone to greet each other, to celebrate and really feel the joy of the community that they’re a part of," said Rabbi Michael Berk of the Beth Israel Synagogue.

No matter what your religion the advice is the same. Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with others if you’re worried about anyone else being contagious.



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Category: Public Health

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