PARK CITY, Utah - An estimated 50,000 people from across the country will descend on Park City, Utah this week for the Sundance Film Festival just as a severe nationwide flu outbreak is spreading, clogging emergency rooms from coast to coast. The quaint mountain town of Park City will be a giant Petri dish with crowds shaking hands, riding public transportation, and unknowingly spreading germs.
Park City Medical Center is hoping to keep festival goers healthy. While staffing up in the emergency room to brace for the extra number of people in town during the film festival, the hospital is also doing what it can to prevent people from needing the ER.
"We know that one of the best ways to prevent the flu is frequent hand sanitizing. So we will be giving out free bottles of hand sanitizers to some of the hotels, restaurants and transportation companies, asking them to give them to their guests and clients. If people slip these into their pockets or purses and use them to clean their hands, it really will help them to stay healthy and enjoy the film festival," said hospital CEO Rob Allen. "We want people to enjoy the Sundance Film Festival, and not get sick while attending it."
While the hospital is doing what it can to supply local businesses, demand may exceed supply, so people are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer with them as well.
"We will be distributing about 5,000 free bottles of this germ-killer, but we know many more people than that will be here for the festival," Allen said.
Other ways you can avoid getting the flu includes the following:
• Get a flu vaccine. (It's not too late.)
• Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Get plenty of sleep, exercise, drink lots of water and eat healthy foods.
Park City Medical Center is part of Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health system based in Salt Lake City. Transforming healthcare through high quality and sustainable costs, Intermountain addresses the healthcare needs of residents of Utah and southern Idaho. For more information, visit www.intermountainhealthcare.org.