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The staff of The Salt Lake Tribune covers the Sundance Film Festival, on the streets of Utah and beyond.

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Ah, choo! One way to avoid the flu during Sundance Film Festival

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.

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.

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"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 in a press release. "We want people to enjoy the Sundance Film Festival, and not get sick while attending it."

People are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer with them. But if they don't, Park City Medical Center personnel will be at the airport, with All Resort Group, who handles the majority of the transportation from the airport to Park City for the fest. They are helping distribute hand-sanitizer to their patrons, along with some local hotels and businesses in Park City.

"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.

Park City Medical Center is part of Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health system based in Salt Lake City. For more information, visit www.intermountainhealthcare.orghref="http://www.intermountainhealthcare.org/">www.intermountainhealthcare.org.

— David Burger

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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