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Spread Cheer, Not Germs, at Holiday Gatherings

Expert suggests keeping some distance while making merry with family and friends

THURSDAY, Dec. 2, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- You're likely looking forward to spending plenty of time with family and friends over the holidays, but you should take steps to ensure you and everyone else avoids getting the flu, advises an expert at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Here are some tips:

  • Use air kisses instead of the real thing.
  • Wash your hands often and carry hand sanitizer with you.
  • Don't use your fingers when eating food at parties. Use serving spoons or forks. As a party host, make sure there are plenty of serving utensils.
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve in order to avoid spreading germs to people around you.
  • If you are at a religious service, try to keep your distance (three to six feet) from other people and don't share the wine goblet. Instead of shaking hands or hugging, greet others with a wave or an elbow greeting.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep in order to keep your immune system strong.
  • If you are sick, stay home.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about flu prevention.

SOURCE: Ryerson University, news release, Nov. 26, 2010
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