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Given concern about the recent outbreak of flu, the bishops urge congregations to exercise common sense and take the same reasonable precautions that are recommended during the regular flu season every year.

These include washing hands frequently with soap and water (and using sanitizing wipes and alcohol-based gels when soap and water is not available); good self-care (getting plenty of sleep and exercise, managing stress, eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water); avoiding close interactions with people who are sick; trying to not touch potentially contaminated surfaces; and avoiding touching nose, eyes and mouth.

At public worship, the bishops suggest that people consider verbal greetings in lieu of physical contact during exchange of The Peace and avoid self-intinction during Communion.  Having hand washing and sanitizing supplies readily at hand in church facilities, and encouraging their use, is also a good idea.

Some online information resources include:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services
www.mass.gov/dph/flu

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
http://www.flu.gov

Center for Disease Control
http://www.cdc.gov/flu