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What to Do When Party Guests Arrive Sick

Manners for the Host and Healthy Guests


Updated August 04, 2009

Have you ever hosted a party or gathering and had guests arrive who were sick? It can create an uncomfortable situation. You don’t want to be rude, but you don’t want to expose yourself or your other guests to their germs. So what do you do?

Contagious or Not?

If the guest is a close friend or family member, it’s best to ask them directly if they know what they have and whether or not they are contagious. If they are certain their illness is not contagious, you can explain this to your other guests who may ask you about it without revealing what the particular illness is (you don’t want to reveal someone’s medical information to others). Simply say that he or she is not contagious and move on.

How Bad is It?

If your guest has a cold or other mild respiratory infection that is contagious, you could politely show them where the tissues and hand sanitizer are and ask them to avoid guests who might be more susceptible to these illnesses.

If your guest has something like the flu or he has a fever, tell them you feel it would be better for them to stay home and get some rest so they can recover and enjoy your company another time. Hopefully this conversation will occur on the phone and not at your front door!

Consider Your Other Guests

If you have guests that have compromised immune systems, such as young babies, older adults and others with chronic diseases, you should make sure all of your guests know that they should not come to your party if they are sick. Even minor illnesses such as colds can make these groups of people very ill. In this case it is more important to protect your guests who could catch the illness rather than worry about offending a guest who showed up sick.

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