Spread good cheer, not germs this holiday season. "During the giving season, the one thing you should avoid giving to visiting friends and family is the flu and other viruses and bacteria," says Dr. Robert Dolansky, Medical Director, St. Luke's Care Now. "Indoor gatherings have been shown to increase the risks of spreading germs and illness. However, there are some simple tips holiday entertainers can follow to spread cheer – and not germs – at their parties."
- Stock up on hand sanitizer. In addition to having alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the bathroom, place a bottle in the kitchen, buffet table, bar, and other commonly used surfaces. This gives guests the opportunity to kill germs before filling their plates.
- Offer disposable guest towels. Multiple use cloth towels hanging next to the bathroom sink are a haven for germs. Offer festive, disposable paper hand towels in your bathrooms.
- Serve snack items in single sever bowls and cups; chips, pretzels and nuts are snacking staples at many parties. To prevent germs from being transmitted through common dishes, present your snacks in single serving containers.
- Provide guests with drink identifiers. In the excitement of a party, it's easy to mistakenly grab the wrong glass. Using wine charms or decorative swizzle sticks can ensure that party goers only drink from their own cups. Another option is to decorate and personalize disposable cups with stickers and permanent markers. If you are having kids at the party, set up a "cup decorating table."