Widespread concerns over this year's flu epidemic has reached new proportions after a New York City youth sports club took extreme measures by urging kids from giving high-fives and fist bumps during matches.

The Manhattan Soccer club reportedly sent an email on Monday warning parents that "the safest thing to do is touch elbows" during a team's post game lineup for club high-fives.

Andy Stenzler, a parent of a 10-year-old daughter with the club told the New York Post, "it shows that [the club] is on top of what is going on with the flu outbreak, and they have come up with a great solution that shows good sportsmanship while also reducing the chance of transferring the flu."

The flu season in the U.S. got under way a month early, in December, driven by a strain that tends to make people sicker. That led to worries that it might be a bad season, following one of the mildest flu seasons in recent memory.

The latest numbers do show that the flu surpassed an "epidemic" threshold last week. That is based on deaths from pneumonia and influenza in 122 U.S. cities. However, it's not unusual -- the epidemic level varies at different times of the year, and it was breached earlier this flu season, in October and November.

The Manhattan Soccer club, a travel soccer club with more than 750 players, won three state titles last year.

The Associated Press was used in this report.