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Would you cancel if sick?

Got some friends who've been planning a Christmas party (this weekend) at a private club since October. This party will be 6 couples for a sit down dinner (in addition to hosting couple). Found out today that wife of hosting couple is very sick, potentially with sinus infection. She's already said herself that she anticipates coughing and hacking throughout the evening. She is a mess right now. Husband has been 'living' for this party for months.
A pure hypothetical: What would you do in this situation if you were hosts? What about if you were guests?
Some guests have arranged for overnight hotels, some just driving in for the evening. Personally, I know the hosts WILL NOT cancel- husband is beside himself with excitement for this party. I know that if I get sick from this weekend's events, I will be unable to host my own family gathering this Xmas eve and Xmas day.... (I'm responsible for cooking, and hosting elderly family at Xmas.)

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  1. In your situation with an upcoming party and the holidays, I'd cancel. That's just the right timing for you to come down with something to ruin your Christmas and you can't expose the elderly if you can help it.

    Yeah, yeah to all those who go "what the hell", you can't live in a bubble, but you can avoid situations.

    Hopefully, your spouse feels the same as you do.

    2 Replies
    1. re: anni

      I would go (conditionally). How many times have you been around sick people with no ill effects? This is (supposedly), a sinus infection, not flu. Why don't you find out whether what she has is contageous?
      If there is nothing conclusive, why don't you suggest that for the sake of all restaurant patrons that she stay home! At the least, she will make everyone in the restaurant uncomfortable if she is there, coughing and hacking. I think this would be her obligation, She should set aside her desires and consider others.

      1. re: Scargod

        I am in the Scargod camp. Go if she is not contageous and insists on going, I would send my regrets with a note about grannies and cooking and wishes for better health and include a really really nice get well soon gift. There is no chance they can reschedule? it does not hurt to suggest. Perhaps if the other invitees felt the same and another convenient date could be arranged then all would be dandy again!

        That IS unfortunate.

    2. Were I the host couple, I'd not consider canceling the event though if I or my wife were ill in the way you describe the hostess being ill then that one of us would sit the dinner out. There's no way that could be pleasant for anyone, the ill person included.

      As a guest, if I felt like it would actually be a situation which might make me ill, I'd cancel as early as possible such they could invite someone in my stead if they so chose. Keep in mind that if it is a simple sinus infection, she's not likely to be contagious after 2 or 3 days from when she first had symptoms. Not that that would make the environment during the party more comfortable, but it might help in thinking through what to do.

      Are the hosts preparing the food? That would certainly increase the odds that you'd get sick. (I should also note, by way of partial explanation of my perspective, that I have a serious lung disease and have to be very careful about such things. That doesn't make me an expert on this, but it makes me far more cautious than others might be.)

      1. I would cancel. I know it's frustrating, but your health is more important than any party. Parties can be rescheduled.

        1. If I were the host couple, I would have the husband go but leave the wife at home. Doesn't sound like she's anticipating having any fun anyway. If I were you, I would go. I don't think you'll get sick.

          1. I would go, and sit at the opposite end of the table and maybe substitute my customary silk handkerchief in my blazer pocket, with a folded surgical mask.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Veggo

              And you could ask that your food be pureed, so you could suck you food, in a sealed cup, through a straw,

            2. If you end up going, load up on vitamin C and zinc...

              1. I'd opt out if I were the one coughing and hacking, com'on we're only human and things happen. I mean sure, go and get everyone sick because of your selfish egotastical need, that's really caring about your friends.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cstr

                  The issue is that a lot of times, you're the most contagious before you even know you're sick. By the time I'm coughing and hacking, it's the tail end of a cold and the cough lasts up to a month. I'm not going to quarantine myself in a house for that length of time, especially since I have allergies and can have a hacking cough a good portion of any year! A lot of times I am "really sick," it's all because of allergies, not because of a sinus infection. If she feels that sick, the hostess should go to a doctor and figure out whether what she has is still contagious and make a decision from there.

                  The only party I've attended where I got sick afterward and a good portion of the other guests did as well was one in which a)we all worked in the same small, poorly ventilated office, and 2)no one was showing symptoms. Typically if one person at a party has a cold that's already showing symptoms, they're probably more likely to be vigilant about washing their hands as are everyone else at the party.

                2. Cancel. Plead illness - but don't specify whose. A hostess who knowingly refuses to safeguard the health of her guests has thereby fundamentally abdicated the role of hostess, and relieved guests of their commitment. Feel not guilty.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Karl S

                    True. That is not in the least hostessey!

                  2. Sinus infections aren't usually contagious, especially in the later stages. If it was me who was sick, I'd stay home because it sounds like the evening would be miserable for me, but I wouldn't be too worried about infecting everyone else with the dreaded lurgy just by sitting at the same table. It's different if it's a gastro-intestinal illness or something easily transmitted from person to person.

                    1. You lost me at "very sick, potentially with sinus infection." Sinus infections are unpleasant, but don't generally rise to the level of "very sick." A couple of days on antibiotics and you're asymptomatic and non-contagious. Moreover, they don't tend to cause much "coughing and hacking."

                      Even assuming that the hostess has an upper respiratory infection, it's unlikely to be spread by air. Contact, on the other hand, can spread things quickly. So hopefully she won't be offering to shake hands or exchange kisses. If she is, decline. Otherwise, I wouldn't sweat it.

                      Even if she does infect you, you're probably good through Christmas. Your New Years plans, on the other hand...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Agreed. Sinus infrection and "very sick" do not equate, unless the infection is left untreated. I also agree with the "coughing" statement. Besides, a sinus infection is not as easily transmitted as the cold virus.

                        To the OP -- did the hostess go to the doctor to get this potential sinus infection diagnosis? If so, did she get antibiotics? What about a steroid injection? If she has taken care of the sickness today(Thurs.), she should be up to handling her hostess duties by the weekend.

                        1. re: Sister Sue

                          This is all rather irrelevant to a hostess' duties. It's not a function of contagion, but of guest comfort. The description of the condition is sufficient to make almost anyone wonder and worry.

                          A hostess abdicates her role when she puts her guests in that situation. Guests are relieved of their commitments.

                        2. re: alanbarnes

                          Reading other posts made me realize that there are two questions here; as a guest I probably wouldn't sweat it. But the other question is what the host should do. That one's easier: being sick around one's guests isn't very hospitable. If a host has any symptoms beyond a sniffle, and if there's any chance s/he is infectious, it's time to stay home.

                        3. Attending depends on your own health status - but it's rather strange that 'husband' puts the party ahead of his wife's health and comfort.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: OCEllen

                            Who knows. Maybe it's the no refund 3K+ commitment...

                          2. I am still trying to process the husband living for the party and being excited to do it. Do such men exist? I have to play let's make a deal with my reluctant and shy beau.

                            1. For openers, I have not read any of the responses, so if I'm repeating someone, sorry 'bout that.

                              If I were the hostess with the sinus infection, I would first go to a doctor and find out whether I am contagious, whether anything can be done to drastically reduce my symptoms and maximize my comfort for the evening, and check on whether such a course would dull my senses or restrict my partaking of any of the food or drink.

                              If the doctor says, "Look lady, you should be in BED!!!" then I would follow doctor's orders, but I would not in any way consider canceling the party. My husband would be required to carry on without me, extend my apologies, encourage all to enjoy themselves, and hope that everyone would enjoy themselves and that the evening turns out to be all that my husband has hoped it would be through the long months of planning.

                              Oh, and he'd better bring me a few goodies or he's in BIG trouble!!!

                              1. Here' is where jfood scratches his head.

                                Hacking and coughing normally refers to an upper respiratory infection or flu, not sinus infection. he has been told in the past 48 hours of drugs and she should be non-contageous.

                                So what would jfood do?

                                As a guest - if the hostess has been to the doctor and on meds for 2 days he would probably go and be VERY selective on where to sit, plus his trusty bottly of Purel would be in his pocket and very much on his hands.
                                As a host - if jfood were in the hacking phase, whether contageous or not, he would probably send mrs jfood solo or cancel. The first thing would be to check with the out of towners with hotel reservations on the refundability of their reservations.

                                Now in this case with the wife sick and the husband's day in the sun. Mrs jfood would say to go and jfood would say absolutely no way. He'd cancel.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jfood

                                  Last weekend I called to beg off a restaurant dinner because I had the flu. The hostess thanked me and told me she was on a medication that makes her vulnerable to infection. I guess whether you should get involved in holiday partying under those circumstances is another question. But as host OR guest I think it's worth considering if any of the party is frail, elderly, whatever. People are still complaining about how my aunt came to our Mom's funeral with a florid respiratory infection and practically wiped out half the oldsters. People really do notice that sort of thing even if it's not that scientific ie they might have gotten the cold from someone else. They remember the person who was blowing their nose all over the place.

                                2. These responses intrigue me! Thank you!
                                  And I have an update: the husband has come home from a road trip sick! His congestion disallowed him from sleeping while on the road. They are now both sick.
                                  In answer to a previous post: wife was diagnosed by physician assistant with 'potential sinus infection' and was prescribed antibiotics. She will have been taking antibiotics for 3 days when the party occurs.
                                  Other answer: Neither of them is preparing the food- we'll be dining at a private club. I'm sure it is a VERY EXPENSIVE event. They consider it their Xmas present to their friends.
                                  I'm fully prepared to have them both coughing & hacking & sniffling through dinner. I'm sure it will be lovely... not...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: maddogg280

                                    Just hope for a very long table instead of a round one and jockey for seating farthest away from them. Hold your breath while near them. Enjoy the food! '-)

                                  2. I would politely cancel.

                                    I'd let it be known that I can't afford to bring things like a virus home because one of my daughters has a severely depressed immune system. Count on your own immune system being compromised during the holidays due to extra stress.

                                    The two times we attended family functions where someone was clearly sick, hacking up a lung like a 30-year smoker, I blasted them very publicly. I got my timing down in the professional environment, reminding those knotheads that no one was that indispensable.

                                    1. I would suggest you and your spouse getting something special to wear for the party (see photo below).

                                      1. As host, as long I KNEW for absolute certain (like, 1001 percent) that my condition was not contagious, I would not cancel. If I thought there were any chance of contagion, I would re-schedule. I just couldn't take the chance that one of my guests, or anyone they may come into contact with in their own lives, unbeknownst to me, had a compromised immune system, for whatever reason, or a condition like asthma or Lupus in which the smallest case of blue-meanies can turn into life-and-death crises.

                                        If I KNEW my illness was not contagious, I'd still avoid personal contact and tell guests, "My doctors have re-assured me that I'm not contagious...it's a sinus infection...but just to be sure, I don't want to risk giving you anything."

                                        As a guest, if I find out my host is ill, and I think there's any chance it's communicable, I give my regrets. I have too many people depending on me not to be ill, and, like many others here, I'm sure, people in my life with serious health conditions I can't put at risk. But, I would make sure to extend an invitation to the (hopefully, formerly) ill host as soon as he or she feels better. If I know the host only has a sinus infection, I'd attend, but still follow my rule of no personal contact.

                                        You never know who you're going to encounter during the day who has a young baby, an elderly parent or a chemotherapy patient in their lives. My mother was a cancer patient with a highly positive prognosis who, unfortunately, picked up a chest cold somewhere and died from complications of it. Nobody *means* to do that to someone else, I know...but it does happen. And, even with something "non-contagious" such as sinus infection, when people cough and sneeze, germs are spread.

                                        1. GO!! But do not kiss the host on the cheek, touch anything she/he touches, and don't shake his/her hand. Go be merry and celebrate. If you live life in a bubble, you will only see life go by from the inside of the glass.

                                          I have gone to a party where the hosts son had mono.... guess what, I had a great time, and did not catch mono.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                            I, too, would go, but certainly NO kissing, and much hand washing (think Purel - thanks, Jfood). I can understand completely not wanting to cancel an event you've planned for months.

                                            Just a few weeks ago 7 friends and I arrived at a much anticipated (home) dinner party only to discover our poor hostess felled with a migraine. The meal (5 courses) was partially prepared when she had to just stop and lie down. Her sweet husband let us rumble through the kitchen, eat what was already prepared, and after we downed the wine we had brought, we quietly left.

                                            1. re: Cheflambo

                                              That was very nice of the host, and I sure they felt terrible, but would have felt MUCH worse if people left at the onset, or did not show at all. Nothing is worse to a host who plans for months an event only to have no shows, or snagglepuss in mid meal...

                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                I agree with you re Cheflambo's story. Those are gracious hosts, and the type people you feel comfortable knowing. Since the wife's headache was definitely not contagious, I appreciate the aplomb they showed.

                                          2. If I were the hostess, I'd have a bottomless hot toddy. If I were a guest, constant screwdriver.

                                            1. It it were mentioned that it was an anniversary party or a small wedding, would there really be so many people saying that it should be cancelled, considering travel plans others have already made (during the holidays, as well as throughout the year, deposits have to be put down on hotel rooms and restaurants).

                                              If I were a contagious host, I might personaly bow out, while leaving the guests to enjoy themselves. If not contagious, take some dayquil with the antibiotics to relieve your guests of your coughing, and bow out early if needed (it's been posted enough times that guests can get on easily without hosts).

                                              As a guest, I would attend (I don't get sick much), but would be boosting my immune system with additional Emergen-C packets. If I were prone to illness, I probably wouldn't go.

                                              Good luck with whatever you decide!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Caralien

                                                > I[f] it were mentioned that it was an anniversary party or a small wedding, would there really be so many people saying that it should be cancelled

                                                Yes, as I have done in the past when such situations arise. It's easier to ask forgiveness for missing such events than trying to battle things I've inadvertently brought home.

                                                If the people throw a real snit over my absence due to my situation then I won't really miss them at future events I do attend.

                                                The times a twit knew s/he was contagious and didn't tell me I was sure to make them regret it. I think nothing of blasting them for such bone-headed actions. There's nothing like exposing the whole group to influenza because said twit doesn't want to miss the event; that's _sure_ to make it memorable! (And just to be clear, it's usually the same twits that send their kids to school doped up on Tylenol or go into work sucking on an IV of Nyquil.)

                                                1. re: The Ranger

                                                  if not contagious...attend
                                                  if contagious...don't, but allow your guests to enjoy themselves, perhaps calling in a substitute host or couple
                                                  I hope this clarifies my position

                                                  1. re: Caralien

                                                    Your position was clear; I found it an honest question. :)

                                                    I've seen people get very upset (privately) at discovering an attendee (whether the host/ess or invitee) is ill. Most have said they would have sent their regrets were they informed prior. I'm just a little more reactive when confronted with such thoughtlessness hoping a little peroxide to the situation make the offender *think* the next time they are presented with such an easy decision -- STAY HOME.

                                                2. re: Caralien

                                                  I concur with Caralien. If the hosts have gone to this much trouble to plan a private party (that may have required a deposit, etc.) then I would go unless I were flat on my back. If I were the hostess I might bow out and let my husband be the host depending on how sick/contagious I was.

                                                3. I've been in the same situation as the hostess and I just grin and bear it. The sinusitis should not be contagious (I have certainly never gotten my guests sick), though I would not share utensils or barware. In the past, I've just loaded up on decongestants, done my best to restrain my coughing for a couple hours and while it is miserable, I generally have had fun at these events and made lasting memories.

                                                  As a guest, however, I would probably exercise more caution. I am still recovering from a sinus infection that coincided with several holiday parties and a series of Christmas concerts I need to give. Given my duties Christmas week, I wish I had done everything in my power to avoid developing the infection (and catching the cold that came with it).

                                                  1. If I were the hosts: Don't cancel. Medicate as much as possible to enjoy the evening. If illness were contagious, take all standard precautions to avoid spreading germs. Then forget about it and have a good time.

                                                    If I were guests: Go. Be a nice guest. Greet the host and hostess and sympathize with her not feeling well without making such a big deal of it that it overshadows the event. She doesn't want it too. Then forget about it and have a good time.

                                                    edited to add:
                                                    I just read all the other posts and I'll add that this is a pretty nice gift from the couple to their friends. You're not paying, cooking, or cleaning up. Unless you live in a bubble, you're surrounded by people with viruses and the germs they leave behind all day long (think shopping cart handles for starters). Don't worry about one or two more exposures. And thank them for the gift.