Mass-goers urged to consider alternative to handshake to avoid spreading winter flu
MASS goers are to be asked to consider an alternative to the handshake or sign of peace in a bid to combat the spread of winter flu.
The Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley has written to priests in his diocese asking them to temporarily suspend the traditional sign of peace handshake.
Dr Buckley has suggested that priests ask congregations to consider using an alternative non-contact gesture to reflect the symbolism and meaning of the sign of peace.
This could range from a wave, a bow or simply a smile to show friendship and respect towards other Mass goers.
The measure, which is being recommended on a temporary basis, is aimed at avoiding any type of contact which could facilitate the spread of the flu virus.
It is expected that other bishops nationwide will follow Dr Buckley's example and issue similar non-contact and hygiene promotion advice to parishes.
The measure came as the Health Service Executive (HSE) urged people with the flu virus to recover at home and to minimise the possible spread of the virus.
This has included recommending that children do not attend school until they are fully recovered from any flu outbreaks.
It is expected that the peak of the winter flu outbreak will occur over the next fortnight.