H1N1 Swine Flu Holiday Party Etiquette
How to keep an unwelcome guest -- swine flu -- out of your holiday party.
Saying Good-bye Graciously to an Unwelcome Guest
Some guests may not heed your warnings, and will arrive at your doorstep
dressed in their finest flu germs. As host, it is your responsibility to steer
them back home, but do so in a manner that shows you are only concerned about
You might say something like, "Sarah, I would only say this to a friend, but
you look awful and you really need to go home," Post says. Send your friend
home with a box of tissues and a mug of hot tea, and promise to check in on her
later. "They might be a little offended at first, but hopefully, they'll
The Correct Way to Greet Your Guests
Hugs, kisses, and handshakes are wonderful ways to say hello and express
that you are happy to see your guests. These expressions of welcome are also
wonderful ways for swine flu germs to spread. As a result, many people today
are avoiding close social contact. "To a degree, many of us already are
practicing what I might call 'social distancing light,'" Schaffner says. "They
are being more cautious and more cognizant."
When avoiding hugs and handshakes, be mindful about providing an
explanation. "You're choosing to interact socially with people, so if you're
not going to shake you need to say with words what the handshake would have
said: Sorry, I'm off handshakes for the season, but it's really nice to meet
you," Post says.
If you do shake hands, clean up discreetly afterward. "Wash your hands after
the contact," says Aaron Glatt, MD, president and CEO of New Island Hospital in
Beth Page, Long Island, N.Y. "Try not to touch your eyes
or mouth, which could transmit infection."
Holiday Party Accessories
This season, the must-have holiday party accessories are hand sanitizer,
tissues, and personal towels. "Hand sanitizer is going to be your best bet in a
social situation," says Sandra Fryhofer, MD, clinical associate professor at
Emory University School of Medicine, past president of the American College of
Physicians, and a member of the Adult Immunization Advisory Board.