The Great Sundance Film Festival Flu Freakout of 2013 Has Arrived

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The Sundance Film Festival will be sanitized this year. Or, at least it will attempt to be. The festival is typically a hotbed of independent and disease, and with a virulent flu season, Tatiana Siegel at The Hollywood Reporter reports that the Park City Medical Center is handing out 5,000 bottles of hand sanitizer over the 10-day fest when it begins Thursday.

“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," hospital CEO Rob Allen said. “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."

It's not all crowded movie theaters and sheepish, hypochondriac celebrities. Despite this year's frightening flu statistics, which have reached "epidemic" levels, health problems are no stranger to the festival. Last year Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes wrote in the New York Times that "is typically a petri dish. Every year a cluster of people return to Hollywood with colds due to lack of sleep (partying is one reason but so are midnight screenings) and jammed festival shuttles, where one person sneezes and 10 people get spritzed." In 2010 Hands2GO issued a press release explaining that it would be handing out sanitizer to protect against H1N1. And there is a Sundance Flu Twitter account that's been in operation since December 2011, though it's active again this week:

As Siegel points out, we found out at the Golden Globes that even movie stars aren't immune to the flu. Remember when Jennifer Lawrence wouldn't shake Ryan Seacrest's hand because of the bug? (That, or it was a really good excuse.) 

Also, Meryl Streep did not attend the Golden Globes because she had the flu. (And was "amazing in it," according to Amy Poehler.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.