ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – It’s flu and cold season, and if you’re feeling sick, experts say you should stay home to avoid spreading the disease to other people.

Beaumont epidemiologist Paula Keller told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Zahra Huber the disease is spread very easily through contact with sick people.

She said it’s especially difficult to stay away from the illness if you’re in a crowded place, like church, where there’s a lot of close contact with others.

“We all want to go to church; we want to show our devotion. But if we are ill, perhaps we should pray at home and spare the other people in the congregation the risk of being exposed to what we have,” Keller said.

Keller said it’s important to remember to avoid shaking hands with, hugging and kissing anyone who is sick.

“If you touch an object they already touched with a hand they coughed into, then you can pick up the respiratory secretions with viruses on that hand, and you’re OK until you rub your eye, or lick your finger, or handle your nose with that hand that’s been contaminated,” Keller said.

Health officials say you should also wash and sanitize your hands as often as possible, and the best way to prevent the flu is a vaccination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends a flu shot for anyone over the age of 6 months.

(Where to get your flu shot).

MORE: 2013 Flu Season Begins With A Bang

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