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Tulane researchers: Super Bowl parties carry added risk in the teams' home cities

Tulane University (source: tulane.edu) Tulane University (source: tulane.edu)

Tulane University suggests people should cover their coughs in the Carolina and resist the temptation to double dip in Denver. 

A Tulane University Study published in the American Journal of Health Economics found cities with a team in the big game had an 18 percent increase in flu deaths among people over 65 years old. 

"It's people that are staying at home and hosting small local gatherings, so your Super Bowl party, that are actually passing influenza among themselves," says Charles Stoecker of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. 

Stoecker worked with economists Alan Barreca of Tulane and Nicholas Sanders of Cornell University to comb through county statistics from 1974-2009. 

 "You are coughing and sneezing and sharing chips and dip with people that you often don't, and so we get the influenza transmitted in novel ways that's then going to eventually wind up in the lungs of a 65-year-old," said Stoecker.

Researchers say the effects are even greater when the Super Bowl falls in the peak of flu season or in years with a particularly lethal strain. 

Stoecker suggests prevention to combat the risk of infection at Super Bowl Parties.  Hand-washing and vaccinations are the first line of defense. He also suggests a giant sign over the dip bowl to "scoop once."

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