How can I stay healthy at social gatherings during Flu season?

Posted by des46893 @des46893, Jan 29 8:47am

My liver transplant was 4 years ago this coming April. With flu season here I was wondering how to go about handling a large emotional family funeral with a weakened immune system. Handshakes, hugs, kisses – it all makes me a little paranoid. How do I attend without appearing aloof and non-caring?

@des46893, Please accept my condolences on the loss of a loved one. Facing a large family funeral during flu season is a very real cause for concern. My own mom died 3 months after my transplant, and since I was still weak, I was able to remain seated during the visitation, and off to the side. This worked well for me.
I make it a habit of not shaking hands, however at funerals, I do make an exception. When I don't want to hug or touch hands, I find that a smile, nod, and a kind word are perfectly suitable. Keep your hand cleaner in your pocket, and use it often!
My husband has helped me to find a "safe" seat in church service for funerals. I like to be in an open area, at least an aisle seat. If we notice someone actively coughing, or sniffing, we will move to a new location.

Might you be able to fine an area that is away from the crowd? Will you be in attendance the entire time? Or can you select a non-crowded time to attend?

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@des46893 Family gatherings of any kind, at any time, can be stressful. I am sorry to hear you need to face a funeral with many who mean well. Taking care of yourself and your health has to be a primary concern, so make sure you continue to eat healthy, get enough rest and alleviate stress wherever you can. Like @rosemarya mentioned, aim for less close contact where possible. Do most all the people you will be with recall your transplant from four years ago? If so, adding a small comment about having to limit yourself to exposure will remind them, and they will hopefully understand your dilemma.
Ginger

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@des46893 great advice from @rosemarya and @gingerw.
I was in the hospital in December 2017 with Legionnaires disease. This was just before Christmas so I asked one of the attending physicians if I should skip the gatherings we had planned to attend. He crouched down so we were face to face and told me that I didn’t get a new liver to stay home, to go but just take precautions if anyone was coughing or seemed ill.
Of course at a funeral you may be expected to shake hands more so keep the sanitizer handy.
You may want to consider wearing a face mask. That will keep everyone conscious of your need to be careful. We flew to Denver today and I, as always, wore a mask on the plane. I had enough (you should change then about every two hours) but wanted to buy some extras. All of the drug stores were out of them! If you do get some get the ones with the anti-viral coating. Virus germs are very small and can get through the regular masks.
JK

Liked by mollyv

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This is such a great question and reminded me of this discussion that @rosemarya started back in 2016:
> Living Life after your Transplant https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-life-after-your-transplant/

Which was transformed into this blog post:
> Top Transplant Hacks: Patients Share Their Best Tips and Tricks https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/newsfeed/top-transplant-hacks-patients-share-their-best-tips-and-tricks/

Which was then made into this video to be shared widely on Youtube and the Mayo Clinic app. Not only does it help remind transplant recipients how to stay healthy, it helps inform the people around you about the extra cautions you have to take when you've been given the gift of life.

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@des46893, I've been thinking about you.. When you feel up to it, I am interested to hear from you.
How did you manage the handshakes, the hugs, the kisses?

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@rosemarya

@des46893, I've been thinking about you.. When you feel up to it, I am interested to hear from you.
How did you manage the handshakes, the hugs, the kisses?

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I was not the only one with concerns. One of my relatives who was a nurse recommended a mask – specifically a N-95. When I arrived at the ceremony 2 of my expectant relatives were wearing the masks and offered me one also. I declined and took a different approach. I arrived with a supply of nitrile gloves and a small vial of hand sanitizer. They came off early in the day and I found that if I shoved my hands in my coat pockets everyone figured out what was going on. I only offended one person when the hands went in the pockets when he extended his hand. Someone quickly jumped in and explained the circumstances and all was good. I did however avoid the buffet style meal they had laid out on banquet tables. I loved seeing everybody and I’m glad I went but I rue the fact it was a funeral that brought everybody together.

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@des46893

I was not the only one with concerns. One of my relatives who was a nurse recommended a mask – specifically a N-95. When I arrived at the ceremony 2 of my expectant relatives were wearing the masks and offered me one also. I declined and took a different approach. I arrived with a supply of nitrile gloves and a small vial of hand sanitizer. They came off early in the day and I found that if I shoved my hands in my coat pockets everyone figured out what was going on. I only offended one person when the hands went in the pockets when he extended his hand. Someone quickly jumped in and explained the circumstances and all was good. I did however avoid the buffet style meal they had laid out on banquet tables. I loved seeing everybody and I’m glad I went but I rue the fact it was a funeral that brought everybody together.

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@des46893 sounds like you navigated the services well. I also always feel bad that it takes a death to get us all together. We were close to our cousins when we were young but now that’s the only time we see them.
JK

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@contentandwell

@des46893 sounds like you navigated the services well. I also always feel bad that it takes a death to get us all together. We were close to our cousins when we were young but now that’s the only time we see them.
JK

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yes

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@des46893

I was not the only one with concerns. One of my relatives who was a nurse recommended a mask – specifically a N-95. When I arrived at the ceremony 2 of my expectant relatives were wearing the masks and offered me one also. I declined and took a different approach. I arrived with a supply of nitrile gloves and a small vial of hand sanitizer. They came off early in the day and I found that if I shoved my hands in my coat pockets everyone figured out what was going on. I only offended one person when the hands went in the pockets when he extended his hand. Someone quickly jumped in and explained the circumstances and all was good. I did however avoid the buffet style meal they had laid out on banquet tables. I loved seeing everybody and I’m glad I went but I rue the fact it was a funeral that brought everybody together.

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@des46893, I knew in my heart that you would find a way to manage this situation in a manner that would work for you. Who could have guessed that you would have had so much support from your relatives. I think that it is a real eye-opener to learn that there are others who share 'our' germ avoidance.

Hopefully no funerals in your immediate future, but do you feel more confident for the next time you might be confronted with another large social gathering?

Did you find an opportunity to view any of the links that colleenyoung provided?

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@des46893, It's my turn to put my advice into action. I have a funeral that will be a large one because the person is a well respected and popular individual. I expect the visitation to be the most stressful for me because of the traditional handshakes.
I will be sitting away from the crowd during the funeral service in church because i will be playing my violin in my safe" place. Then there is a luncheon (pot luck) that I will not attend.
You have helped me to review my stay healthy skills. Thank you.

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How can I stay well and stay informed ? I am ramping up my own hand washing and germ preventive measures. Last evening I got an email from my church about some changes to be implemented during this coronavirus outbreak in our local church. Perhaps your local churches and establishments are considering taking extra precautionary measures.

Here is some information that I want to share about the coronavirus from Mayo Clinic.
Coronavirus disease – What you should know about COVID-19
A special supplement to MAYO CLINIC HEALTH LETTER
https://www.mayoclinic.org/~/media/934B29A088B146D2AA7D41AB02EA12EE

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@rosemarya

@des46893, It's my turn to put my advice into action. I have a funeral that will be a large one because the person is a well respected and popular individual. I expect the visitation to be the most stressful for me because of the traditional handshakes.
I will be sitting away from the crowd during the funeral service in church because i will be playing my violin in my safe" place. Then there is a luncheon (pot luck) that I will not attend.
You have helped me to review my stay healthy skills. Thank you.

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I think you should go to the pot luck because I’ve found that this is the best part of attending the service. What I mean by that is every body is solemn and introspective before and during the service. After the service it seems that a great weight as been lifted off everyone’s shoulders and people want to converse and share and catch up with what is going on in your life. The only condition that I would stipulate is only take part if your comfortable with the situation you are putting yourself in.

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@rosemarya

How can I stay well and stay informed ? I am ramping up my own hand washing and germ preventive measures. Last evening I got an email from my church about some changes to be implemented during this coronavirus outbreak in our local church. Perhaps your local churches and establishments are considering taking extra precautionary measures.

Here is some information that I want to share about the coronavirus from Mayo Clinic.
Coronavirus disease – What you should know about COVID-19
A special supplement to MAYO CLINIC HEALTH LETTER
https://www.mayoclinic.org/~/media/934B29A088B146D2AA7D41AB02EA12EE

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@rosemarya this would be a good article to put on Facebook too. I would put the MGH info out there but it’s not a link, it’s in a letter on the portal. Unfortunately there are some who actually think this is a political hoax and not real! It’s very unfortunate that our country has be so divided that people are so skeptical of real health warnings.
JK

Liked by beckyy39

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@contentandwell

@rosemarya this would be a good article to put on Facebook too. I would put the MGH info out there but it’s not a link, it’s in a letter on the portal. Unfortunately there are some who actually think this is a political hoax and not real! It’s very unfortunate that our country has be so divided that people are so skeptical of real health warnings.
JK

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@contentandwell @rosemarya my husband left today for a three week vacation to Thailand. I don't know how to protect myself if he contracts the virus. I don't really have any place to go.

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@gaylea1

@contentandwell @rosemarya my husband left today for a three week vacation to Thailand. I don't know how to protect myself if he contracts the virus. I don't really have any place to go.

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@gaylea1 That is sort of frightening. Hopefully he will come home virus free. If he has the virus he will be quarantined though so you probably don't have to worry about being exposed. I believe they are checking everyone coming into this country before they are released from the airport. I'm sure you would have loved to have gone also but I'm glad you didn't. Too risky.
JK

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