Flu concerns affect Halloween

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SHERMAN, TX - Forget the monsters, ghosts and goblins, this Halloween the real scare is potentially spreading the H1N1 flu virus. Parties and trick or treating are just more opportunities for flu germs to reach more children. But is the concern enough to make parents change their Halloween traditions?

"Halloween is a great holiday for kids and this is just a fun activity… kids love Halloween,” said Theresa Hutchinson, the Recreation Director for Sherman Parks and Recreation.

Hutchinson is in charge of the 7th annual Halloween Carnival at the Sherman Municipal Ballroom, which was filled with little princesses, heroes and scary critters Thursday night.

"You don't have to worry about the weather, the cold, it’s pretty contained area and kids are safe and in one room,” said Hutchinson.

But walking door to door this Saturday night isn't the main thing that spooks parents this year.

"I mean especially with the flu and things going on and the new rules about don't let your kids grab in the bucket and make sure you hand it out to them, and going places that are safe and with a community that we know,” said Durant resident Amber Adams.

But local doctors say there is a real concern when it comes to kids going out this Halloween weekend in regards to the flu.

"The last few weeks we've seen so many cases of H1N1 viruses, it's a little bit scary with what we've seen out there. Although it's been a virus that we've been able to effectively deal with from a health stand point, it's still something very contagious among our children. So this Halloween we want to encourage families to be real safe and secure and smart,” said Dr. Joseph Lipscomb, a TexomaCare pediatrician.

You can forget old traditions like bobbing for apples this Halloween, but Dr. Lipscomb says swapping masks, reaching in candy bowls and sharing costumes are all a bad idea this year.

"With the amount of infection that we're seeing this time of year, practice good hygiene take that alcohol scrub with you and put it on their hands every few houses,” Dr. Lipscomb recommended.

The Halloween Carnival did take a few health precautions by making sure that all food and candy was pre-wrapped and handing out treats instead of allowing kids to reach into the bowl.

But should parents be frightened in to staying at home this holiday? Dr. Lipscomb says don't cancel your festivities... Just be safe.

And one mother says that's exactly what she plans to do.

"We always take precautions every year for colds and sicknesses and flues that are going, so no, it doesn't stop us from going out, we have our hand sanitizers and we'll go out the same,” said Adams.

And the number one recommendation doctors have for Halloween celebrations - if you're sick, stay at home.

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