H1N1 Swine Flu Holiday Party Etiquette
How to keep an unwelcome guest -- swine flu -- out of your holiday party.
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When you're setting the table, hand sanitizer makes the perfect finishing touch. Add ribbons and other decorative touches to make the bottle more festive. "It doesn't have to be boring," Fryhofer says. "You can find hand sanitizer in all colors. You can probably find one that matches your decor." Encourage your guests to use hand sanitizer after shaking hands and before eating.
Place tissue boxes in strategic locations throughout the room. You might even carry a small pack around with you. Then when you see someone sneezing, you will have a tissue ready to offer.
Rather than have guests share the same hand towel in the bathroom, buy a stack of inexpensive washcloths or disposable towels. Place a little basket next to them with one used washcloth or crumpled towel inside to show your guests what you want them to do.
How to Serve Your Guests
While preparing food, remember to follow the rules of good hygiene. "As a host, you should always wash your hands before setting the table or serving any food," Post says. "It's so easy to forget that when you're in your own home."
Although most flu virus transmission is caused by close contact with someone who is sick, it doesn't hurt to be on the safe side when serving food. Instead of putting out large bowls of food for your guests to share, offer them single-serving portions. Fill up little shot glasses with nuts, or serve individual, bite-sized foods such as mini quiches or pizzas. "One of the stylish things now is putting hors d'oeuvres in a little spoon," Fryhofer says. "It might be a good idea this season to spoon it rather than finger it to keep your hands out of your mouth."
You want to encourage your guests to only touch what they take. "I know they may seem a little déclassé, but toothpicks are the way to go this season," Post says. Put a bowl with one used toothpick next to it, so your guests know that is where you want them to discard their used toothpicks.
Planning a party in a time of H1N1 doesn't have to be a fearful experience. By practicing a little flu etiquette and good hygiene, you and your guests will enjoy a happy, healthy holiday and New Year.