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Good Question: ‘Reply All’: Communion Contagions & The ABCs

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – From the flu in church to snorers who don’t wake up, we’re replying all to your Good Questions.

Can you get the flu from the communion cup in church? – Pat from Bloomington

People have been asking The Centers for Disease Control this good question for four decades. However, they have never traced a flu case to the communion chalice.

“Studies have shown that there are bacteria present on the chalice, in the wine, and on the wafers, but not in high enough levels to cause illness. Wiping the cup after each person partakes can decrease the amount of bacteria present,” said Dr. Greg Siwek, the director of the Microbiology Lab at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

“The most in depth study comes from an article in the Journal of Environmental Health from 1997, which involved nearly 700 individuals,” Siwek said. “No difference was found among churchgoers who received communion, those who went to church but did not take communion, and those who did not go to church. Not surprisingly, the highest risk of infection came from having children in the family, and was not related to communion.”

So don’t be afraid to drink from the cup, if you’re so inclined.

Why do people who snore wake up everyone in the house but them? – Terri in Osseo

Twenty percent of the night, we’re in such a deep sleep it’s possible to sleep right through really loud noises.

But people who snore are waking up dozens of times a night, just they have no idea. A big snort might wake someone up for just a few seconds. That’s not long enough to remember it the next morning.

Why does the alphabet start with A, then B, then C? Is it because of the song? – Jo from St. Paul

No, it’s not because of the song. Although that’s a classic Steven Wright comedy bit.

The roots of ABC order are found in the cuneiform script of Ugaritic, the Semitic language of an ancient city in Syria. Shapes don’t look like our alphabet, but the concept and the sounds have continued since 800 BC.

The modern English alphabet comes from the 23-letter Latin alphabet, but with three additions: W replaced a Double U in the 1500s.The I/J and U/V separations came later, around 1700.

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