Did your team make it to the Super Bowl? Then you should probably get a flu shot.
If your home-town NFL team is headed off to play at Super Bowl 50 this year, you are at an increased risk of dying from the flu, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Health Economics.
The Super Bowl is being played on Sunday, Feb. 7 at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Researchers from Tulane University and the College of William and Mary, who tabulated public health information from 1974 to 2009, estimated that influenza deaths increase by 18 percent in the population aged over 65 and living in areas where the local team advances to the Super Bowl.
This is hardly a surprise considering the championship game often occurs during peak flu season and the virus is easily transmitted via saliva — coughing, sneezing, drink sharing.
Super Bowl parties where people are in close proximity to each other for an extended period of time could increase the likelihood of transmitting or contracting the flu. Not to mention, fans are more likely to attend Super Bowl parties if their team is competing in the event.
The researchers noted that other events like the Olympics, World Cup, and the World Series could also contribute to disease transmission because they encourage large social gatherings and increased travel.
So, wash your hands and avoid sharing drinks the next time you meet up to watch the big game.