Are you supposed to stay home with a cold?


I’ve always taken our weekly Mass obligation seriously and we make it a priority to go every week, regardless of where we are or what we’re doing. As for illness, the general thought in our house is if you’re well enough to go to work or school or out to play, you’re probably well enough to go to church.

What is the sickness threshold for staying home in your family? I ask because today at Church my toddler sneezed a couple of times and the woman in front of us visibly flinched whenever he did. He has a mild cold (along with several other family members), but it didn’t occur to me that we might miss Mass for that reason. We generally just do a verbal sign of peace and forgo the Cup when we have a cold. But I wondered if others might have a different perspective - should you stay home unless you’re completely healthy? What would you do?


I had a cold, and I still went to Mass yesterday. I generally follow that rule you prescribed: If you can go to work/school, you can go to Mass. Father and the deacon had colds as well, and they still came.

Unless I have a serious illness, I always go to Mass. But, I generally sit away from others when I’m sick.


Here is a response from Jimmy Akin

It comes down to prudential judgement, a person certainly shouldn’t go if they have anything more than a minor/mild illness and if they do go with a mild illness they must take precautions such as hand washing and not receiving the chalice. On some occasions I go when I have a cold and on other occasions I haven’t, it comes down to how I feel and how bad the cold is for me. The bottom line is, anytime you are contagious with something mild it might be best to stay home and if it is anything more then say a cold then there really is an obligation to stay home.


I totally agree. If I have a mild cold, with minor symptoms well under control then I go to Mass because I would go to work and the store. I do try to keep a fair distance from other, though. If, however, my symptoms are pretty bad, I stay home, as I would stay home from work in that case. I also am careful to avoid going out anywhere if I have a flu bug with diarrhea.

The times when I have to miss Mass are the worst. Missing Mass is probably the greatest sacrifice to me as I love it so much. That’s when I offer it up for all those who fellow Catholics who don’t love or appreciate the Mass.


Whenever I have been sick, I have stayed away from going to church.

I don’t take the chance of putting others at risk for getting sick.

What is a mild cold for some people, where they might not think of being around others while they are sick, turns into bronchitis or pneumonia for me since I have asthma. :frowning:


I always wish for some sign that would say “I wish you peace, but my hands might be germy, and therefore, you probably don’t want to shake my hand”. Sometimes I feel bad, because the people behind me have seen me help with Kleenex management for my kids. Then they’re supposed to shake my hands? I just give a kindly nod of the head, as I say “peace”, and hope they understand.
FYI - - my kids have runny noses just about every week at church. I actually think they are allergic to something in the building.



I am one of those people that flinch when someone sneezes a couple of times, while sitting behind me. I have a compromised immune system. There is no such thing as a simple or minor cold for me. And let’s be honest, when a toddler sneezes they don’t generally cover their mouths. And if mom or dad are doing the covering, it is already too late.

I don’t know that I understand the philosophy of if I am well enough for work/school/going outside then I am well enough to sit next to someone at church. That thought only works if your “work” includes very close contact with others. Sitting in an office/ at a cubicle / or at a desk is very different than sitting right next to someone or right behind someone. Or at least I think it is. :shrug:


If you can go out and leave the cold at home by itself, do so!:smiley:


That is the reason why people who have a cold should not attend Mass if they are not the priest… they put others at risk. Of course, the “population” should be considered. There are Masses with seniors being the majority. In such a population, the likelihood of a cold being more of a serious threat is much higher than a congregation with tons of kids. If you have a cold, at least put on a mask if you’re going to attend in such close quarters with people.


Also, at the point in the Mass where the Sign of Peace is given, you might refrain from hugging or shaking hands with those around you, and explain to them you have a cold.


Right. It really irks me that people who are as “strong as a horse” don’t realize how deadly their minor colds can be (they can literally kill infants, people will compromised immune systems, elderly, etc.) nor the social or economic impact spreading it can have. Is it right for a person to go to a crowded Church with a cold so that the people next to you can miss days of work, possibly pay copays for doctor visits and feel miserable? Of course not. It is an obligation in charity to refrain from going to Mass if you’ve got a cold and you know it. Obviously, it’s not always cut and dry in figuring it out, especially when you have allergies or asthma…


I go when I have a cold but I will take some medicine before. I will cover my mouth if I have to cough. I had something happen to me a few years ago that was disgusting. I was sitting in the pew before Mass when someone knelt down behind. They sneezed right in the back of my head. It was so close I felt my hair move. Sure enough a few days later I had a very bad cold. And the thing is it wasn’t some young kid. It was a women in her twenties.


It’s also important to remember that sneezes and sniffles don’t always mean that person has a cold- they could have allergies like I do occasionally or sneeze because of the incense.

There’s no way I can miss work for every cold, so I try to use my best judgment. To me, being with someone for 7 to 8 hours working closely together is far more likely to risk them getting sick then sitting at a distance from someone at Mass for 45- 60 minutes.

As I said, I try to use my best judgment and leave the rest to God as there’s no such thing as a germ-free society. Everyone has germs.


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