Minnesota sees 'widespread' flu activity ahead of Super Bowl

(WCCO via CNN)

Minnesota has widespread flu activity ahead of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, according to the latest report from the state's Department of Health.

WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reports that a million people could attend Super Bowl-related events, and visitors are encouraged to get a flu vaccine before traveling to see the Sunday's game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. 

According to WPVI-TV, Super Bowl organizers are also working to cut the spread of flu germs, and volunteers with the United Way will be disinfecting virtual reality equipment at its booth after each use. 

The flu has blanketed the U.S. for weeks. Two weeks ago, one in 15 doctor visits were for symptoms of the flu. That's the highest level since the swine flu pandemic in 2009.

Thirty-nine states reported high flu traffic two weeks ago, up from 32 the week before.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that hospital stays and deaths from the flu so far haven't been as high as in some other recent flu seasons.

The CDC also recommends people get a flu vaccine every year, but encourages people to take preventive steps to stop the spread of germs, including:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. 
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.