WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-- She didn't see this coming.
Joan Capper's niece died of the flu this morning.
Capper, a Eucharistic Minister at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, didn't even know her niece was sick.
Capper gets her flu shot every year but understands that the flu can still be easily transmitted.
Before each service, Capper washes her hands in an antiseptic wash.
February 14th is the beginning of Lent for the Catholic Church, where many people gather to celebrate.
Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Lin says this flu season is the worst we've had in years.
"We're in the middle as you guys know, of a significant flu outbreak, that the statistics indicate the most intense flu outbreak for 5, 6 , 7 years."
He recommends people who have the flu to take the warning signs seriously.
"If you develop fevers, coughs, just not feeling well, unusual fatigue then you should definitely stay home from work, school, to help protect the people around you." Lin said.
Anyone in the church who serves the public must take precautions.
"Every time we go up especially if we are serving, and we are Eucharistic ministers, we have an antiseptic hand wash and get on the altar."
Church members can decide if they want to receive the offerings or not.