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Minnesota Is Seeing Lots of Flu Cases Ahead of Super Bowl LII

January 30, 2018, 7:33 PM UTC

If you haven’t gotten a flu vaccine, you should think twice before traveling to the Super Bowl this year.

The flu activity in Minnesota is widespread ahead of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, according to the state’s Department of Health.

As the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles prepare for Sunday’s game, Super Bowl organizers are working to decrease the spread of flu germs among fans, according to WPVI-TV. More than 65,000 people are expected to crowd into US Bank Stadium for the event.

This year’s flu is particularly nasty and pervasive, claiming lives of seemingly healthy individuals across the country. Some experts are calling this the worst year for the flu since 2009.

Flu season may peak this week, with patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms making up more than 6% of all visits to the doctor, according to the CDC’s most recent weekly FluView report.

The sickness has even spread to Super Bowl contenders. Patriots’ cornerback Malcolm Butler was hospitalized Monday for flu-like symptoms, according to the Boston Herald. Butler is reportedly recovering and expected to play on in the championship game on Sunday.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot to protect yourself this year, but note that the vaccine takes about two weeks to be effective. That means football fans hoping to join in the festivities in Minnesota may want to participate from their couches, rather than face the germ-infested crowds if they still haven’t gotten a flu shot.

Health care professionals urge people who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to limit contact with others as much as possible. For those facing the crowds in Minneapolis for Super Bowl weekend—and everyone else trying to avoid the flu—soap and water, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant are your friends.