Each year about this time Wyoming will gather around their TV's to host parties, drink beer, eat food and catch the flu while watching the Super Bowl.

Wyoming's flu season is just ramping up and if you are planning on attending a Super Bowl party, you might be setting yourself up to catch this year's influenza strain.  But how could that be right?  You can thank the other guest in attendance at this weekends party, of course!

We’ve all seen people bite a chip and dip it again. It’s a disgusting and potentially dangerous habit. Saliva left behind on partially eaten chips will contaminate the food.

This culprit is at almost every party or gathering where there is food or appetizers - you even have a name for them - the 'double dipper'.  The simple act of double dipping a chip at a Super Bowl party this weekend might seem like a victim-less crime.  But in reality, the flu will spread faster on this weekend than any other weekend of the year.

Thanks, double dipper!!

The Facts: A recent study at Tulane University in New Orleans analyzed flu data dating back over the past 35 years, and they discovered a interesting connection to - the Super Bowl.

If a city's team is in the Super Bowl, that cities death rate from the flu jumps up by almost 10%.  People over 65 in that city are 18% more likely to die from the flu and its symptoms and that's not a coincidence.  Making it to the Super Bowl in actuality is a loss for your city, regardless of the games outcome.

The researchers say it's because people are more likely to attend big Super Bowl parties with people they don't know and whose germs they aren't used to.

 

And as they all get really into the game, they start double dipping chips, shouting, and coughing and that spreads germs.  And since older people are the most susceptible to dying from the flu, that's really bad news.

People should use common courtesy and good sense, but courtesy and manners aren’t always common these days. Some people need polite reminders, and when the obvious doesn’t work, other options might effectively deliver a hint. It’s the responsibility of the host to keep the food as sanitary as possible.

The Solution: Most people wouldn’t dream of eating out of a serving bowl at a party, but when chips are involved, hosts must stay at least one step ahead. You don’t have to announce a no double dipping rule, and you don’t have to place little cardboard signs on tables stating the rule. People wouldn’t likely read the cards anyway, and those that would might consider them rude.

When seeking polite ways to keep people from double dipping, consider using individual serving plates with built in cups or dip holders.  Be sure to stock up on extras as the party guests might get excited and forget where they set their plates.

Another great idea is to be sure to place at least two spoons in the serving bowls. The spoons will serve as visual reminders that dipping more than once using the same chip isn’t acceptable.

These options are nice, polite ways to keep people from double dipping, and if one doesn’t work, the other should. They’re all major hints that serving utensils and personal containers should be used in the hopes to avoid the exchange of germs.

Good Luck and we hope you enjoy this year's Super Bowl!