Yes some of the stuff is might seem a bit odd e.g. cleaning your luggage, but I assure you I have not gone off the deep end. I’ll be traveling 3 times this summer. Each time I will be using the same suitcase and each time I will have to pack my dirty cloths home in it. This adds up after a while; the amount of bacteria that will have accumulated in my suitcase will be considerable. A can of Lysol disinfectant is all it takes to get rid of most of what I will bring home from previous trips.
Tips 1-5 are things everyone should do! These things should not be optional, things such as bathing, sleeping and eating. 6-9 are extra precautions you could take if you are traveling to multiple cons and want to stay healthy.
Any way on with the article.
Written 9/1/2010 - by ThadeousC
I’m sitting here in Seattle and I’m thinking to my self don’t get sick this year, don’t get sick. Now I didn’t get sick last year, or the year before but every year the risk of coming home and having to add a few extra days to my vacation for recovery is the same. Last year I shared a hotel room with three other people; I was the only one not to go home with H1N1 and I would like to keep my lucky streak going if I can.
Germs be they bacteria, archaea, or viruses live on everything; your cloths, your couch, inside your mouth, but the average healthy human body has strong defenses to fight them all off. But at a con people have the tendency to wear down their immune systems by way of lack of sleep and poor diet. Lets face it we just don’t have time to eat well or sleep much when we are trying to pack so much win into three days. Each person at the convention who has neglected their diet and sleeping schedule becomes an incubator for disease.
But most of what they harbor isn’t something they picked up from some one else. Most of what you pick up in your travels, in the way of germs that is, came from you and your stuff. Didn’t know that when you were packing that you threw in a little H5N1 (the bird flu) or a little streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) did you? Most everything you own has some form of contaminant on it, but your body does it’s regular day to day job of fighting it all off.
“But I got swine flu last year (H1N1) and I know it didn’t come from my house so you are wrong.” Nope I’m not. You may have caught H1N1 from some one else last year but chances are your body would have done a much better job of fighting the infection had it not already been doing it’s best against all of the other infections of opportunity it was already fighting off. So while you might have pick up the H1N1 at the con you still brought along all the germs that caused your body to do a poor job of fighting off the infection. Blame your self.
So what can you do to give your self a fighting chance of coming home relatively clean this year?
- Shower! It’s not just a courtesy to those around you (though it is a huge one I can’t stress enough) it’s also a really good way to stay healthy. Shower twice a day while at cons, when you wake up and before you go to sleep. There is nothing better than to sleep all night long covered in the germs you picked up that day at the con.
- Sleep!!!1!1!one. I know it’s only three days long and there are concerts and parties, and games all night long, so go to all of them. But don’t forget that sleep is very important for your body (and brain) to function at its peak. Neglecting your sleep schedule can puts a very large amount of strain on your immune system.
- Wash your hands. Everyone says it and for good reason. Your hands not only carry bacteria from everything you touch but they also carry your food and often your finger in your nose. Wash them or pay the price. Carrying hand sanitizer or wipes is never a bad idea, though many carry them but don’t use them. You have to do both for it to be effective. Soap is not like garlic and vampires germs won’t avoid you just because you are carrying it.
- Snack. Take some extra food with you to snack on all day long. You never know when something might pop up and cause you to skip or prolong a meal. It’s always a good idea to have food handy to bridge the gap between meals. Make sure it’s healthy too, don’t count a snickers as food no matter how many times the commercial tells you it is. Granola, fruit, veggies, these are things which keep you healthy.
- Don’t ignore symptoms! Are you coughing and sneezing? Do you have a fever? Do you have diarrhea or are you vomiting? STAY THE FUCK HOME! Sounds like common sense I know but some people ignore the fact that they are sick and decided the best way to get better is to share their illness with the other 50,000 people at the convention. I always want to thank those people with a swift kick to the forehead. Everyone will thank you so much more if you stay away from a convention when you are ill.
- Wash your phone! How often do you wash your phone? The Oatmeal has a really fun how dirty is your cell phone quiz you should check out. While I question the accuracy of the test I do think it makes a good point. Wash your damn phone! It’s covered in germs and all it takes is a quick wipe down with an anti bacterial pad or a alcohol wipe once or twice a week and you will cut down your infectious agent contact in a huge way.
- Wash your luggage. I know most suitcases won’t fit in your washing machine but a little disinfectant spray or rub down really goes a long way! Think about it, the last time you traveled where did your dirty cloths go? Back in your suitcase, and then what goes into your suitcase for this trip? Your clean cloths. Your clean cloths really won’t be all that clean if you throw them in a dirty suitcase.
- Pack a garbage bag. To avoid the dirty suitcase problem from #2 all you need to do is pack a plastic garbage bag and keep all of your dirty cloths in it. Once you are done with your tighty whities throw them in the bag, or burn them, boxer briefs are where it’s at anyway.
- Clean the uncleaned. There are plenty of things in the same category as your cell phone; objects you use daily but never think to clean. These objects carry a huge amount of contaminants but never really affect/infect you because of your bodies immune system. Some of these things are: Your Laptop, your Nintendo DS, your belt (the first thing you touch in the bathroom BEFORE you wash your hands), your shoes, your watch. All of these could use a quick rub down with an alcohol wipe.
I know some of these sounds a bit OCD, I’m not telling you to shower twice a day every day of your life, or wash your belt every day. What I am telling you that if you want to stay healthy at conventions such as PAX or Gencon these are some extra steps you can take to insure that you feel healthy and don’t bring home extra “swag” in the form of swine flu.
I’m not a doctor but I am a biology student, it does not make me a professional but it does mean some of my professors have scared the crap out of me from time to time with facts and information about this shit. So please take at least some of my advice and try to stay healthy at the Cons, if you stay healthy that means you have probably helped others stay healthy.
Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.