Churches taking precautions to stop spread of flu virus

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Local churches taking precautions to stop spread of flu virus - Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5pm on January 29, 2018. (WPVI)

The spreading flu virus has a lot of people taking extra precautions to protect themselves, that includes many churches.

Anywhere you go that has a lot of people coming through, the less you can touch, the better. And that includes where you worship.

Handshakes have turned into fist bumps or just flashing the peace sign inside many churches and there's less touching in an effort to reduce the spread of germs.

Some Catholic churches are also not offering wine, disinfecting the bowls for holy water and making hand sanitizer available.

Some of the changes started a few years ago, but due to the high flu activity recently, many are bumping up their prevention practices.

One pastor, Carla Christopher, from Union Lutheran Church outside Harrisburg says without universal precautions, a house of worship can become a house of germs.

"The one person who has to shake everyone's hands, that has to give hugs when they need it, and pick up kids when they need it - that's the pastor. Right now, our lead pastor is on round 2 of the flu," she said.

And these are precautions you should try to take almost everywhere you go.

The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to about 24 hours and people are contagious from right before when they have symptoms to up to a week after getting sick, so it's important to wash your hands throughout the day, or use hand santizer.

Also make sure to wipe down common surfaces and get a flu shot.

The vaccine is not as effective this year, but it can help prevent severe symptoms and could help if another strain of the virus starts going around later in the season.

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