Flu season brings changes for communion

ANCHORAGE,Alaska (KTUU)- According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu might be winding down but the season is far from over.

In its weekly update released on Friday, the CDC said the total number of people visiting a health care provider for flu like symptoms dropped about one percent.

NBC News reports the flu kills between 12,000 and 59,000 people every year in the U.S. alone and puts as many as 700,000 into the hospital. In an interview with KTUU earlier this week, an epidemiologist for the state health department said the flu vaccination will not completely protect against the virus, but the hope is it will lessen the impact of the illness.

The threat of the virus led the Archbishop of Anchorage to ask catholic churches in Alaska to temporarily alter the way communion is given."Obviously you have a room full of people, they're breathing on one another and coughing and various things. Obviously these are just precautions that help to minimize the spread and we do what we can out of charity so that we respect all members of the body of Christ," Father Tom Lilly with St. Benedict's Catholic Church said.

For the remainder of flu season, communion will continue to include the body of Christ, but won't include drinking from the communion cup. Parishioners are encouraged to avoid holding hands and of course stay at home if you become sick.Father Tom says there are communion options available for those who may be in the hospital or home bound.

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