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Friends Should Keep Their Distance During Flu Season

DEAR ABBY: Three times in the last week I have been hugged by people who then informed me that they were sick. At dinner last night, one friend blew his nose throughout the meal and then wanted to shake hands. Yuck!

A little reminder during cold season: If you are sick, "coming down with something" or even just "fighting off a little bug," don't hug others! Don't give a little peck on the cheek or shake hands. You can politely mention that you are "a bit under the weather and don't want to share." Other people won't be offended or think you are being standoffish. They will be grateful for your thoughtfulness. -- TRYING TO STAY HEALTHY

DEAR TRYING: That's good advice, if folks are willing to heed it. I can only add that flu vaccinations, frequent hand-washing and a small bottle of hand sanitizer can lessen the chances of getting these viruses when our friends are in a state of denial, and it wasn't "an allergy."

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