Right now there are a great many concerns about the new flu. We can call it the H1N1 flu, or the swine flu; but whatever we call it, it’s got people concerned. In the metropolitan area where I work there have been two “probable” cases reported (confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control takes time). That hardly seems overwhelming; but when I stopped by the drug store today, the shelves were almost emptied of hand sanitizer.
I’ve been looking at resources, and have even shared some with local clergy in my area. They include the following sites that my own institution has been sharing:
- Swine Flu Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Swine Flu Information from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
- Swine Flu Information from The Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- Swine Flu - MedlinePlus
- Gripe Porcina - MedlinePlus
The resources MedlinePlus in Spanish may be especially helpful for some folks.
Episcopal Café, a web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (D.C.) has a page with useful links, some of which address specifically how churches are addressing communion. You can find that here.
Another comprehensive site, addressing a host of questions, is on the site of Episcopal Relief and Development (ER-D) Their information includes material from CDC, and pandemicflu.gov, as well as some materials for developed for Canadian Churches during the SARS epidemic.
Our siblings in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have also posted resources. You can link to their information from here.
Remember that the most important steps to take are things we already know:
- Wash hands early and often, and use appropriate sanitizers.
- If you feel sick, stay home as an act of grace to others.
- If you have a family member sick, keep that person home for the same reason.
- Use discretion especially if you’ve recently been in Mexico, or have been with someone known to have this flu.
- Follow guidelines from the CDC and the State Department about travel to Mexico.
- Get your information from trustworthy sources: the CDC, local public health, or your health care provider.