Did the Super Bowl Flu Strike Your Office?

Look around. A few of your colleagues missing today? Maybe yesterday’s game was just too much for them?

Seattle-based healthcare IT startup Healthentic says it’s not your imagination. The company tracks health insurance usage and other data for companies to help them find ways to save money and improve benefits for their employees.

It looked at insurance claims related to abdominal pain and headaches on the Monday after the Super Bowl for each of the last five years, comparing it to the following Monday.

Abdominal pain claims were up 17 percent on post-Super Bowl Mondays, and headache and migraine claims were 49 percent higher.

Meanwhile, a new study (PDF) found that regions with teams in the Super Bowl saw an 18 percent increase in flu deaths among people over 65. The researchers, from Tulane University and the College of William and Mary, suggest gathering in groups to watch the game and going out to bars and restaurants to celebrate during flu season puts people at greater risk.

And we’re not always as hygienic as we should be while consuming the 2,000-plus extra calories the average American wolfs down during the game, which may be another reason for the increase in abdominal pain claims. I could tell a story about the occult eighth layer in the seven-layer dip that sickened half the family several years back.

Maybe this would have been a good day to schedule a company holiday.

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