Avoiding Con Flu – my top tips

Comic Con ended last week and everyone I spoke to had a stuffy nose and was bitching about being sick. Apparently an entire CS team even came down with Swine flu! rAge is around the corner so no doubt a few people might want to figure out how to avoid catching the plague at their favourite gaming expo and based on the replies to this tweet, tips on how to avoid Con Flu are in high demand:

I’ve been on the unlucky side of Con Flu. After big esports hosting gigs that run over three or four days, demand air travel and tend to increase body fatigue – I used to always come down with the dreaded Con Flu straight afterward. Events like rAge always hit me with the sniffles around about the last day. When you put a bunch of people in a confined space there is obviously going to be germs flying around. After one too many Con Flus I’ve devised a strategy that works for me (so far) and thought I’d share my tips to hopefully keep you sniffles free!

Stay Hydrated!

The biggest mistake we make at Cons, expos and esports events is that we do not stay hydrated. When your body is not hydrated it isn’t performing optimally and your immune system isn’t going to be able to fight off the geek germs flying around. Start by ensuring you up your water intake a few days before the event. Every morning force two glasses of water down before you leave for the Con and keep drinking as much water as you can throughout the day. Avoid the sugar drinks like Coke and if you’re going to hit the coffee, be sure to have a glass of water with every cup of caffeine. Staying away from booze helps as well but, again, if you must drink alcohol, be sure to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. I find that if I drink a large amount of water I’m also less hungry which means I eat less at the expo… which leads me to my next point:

Try eat healthy

There is nothing nutritious at Cons/expos/esports events. It is usually pizza, fries, burgers and anything else fatty and quick to make. While I’m sure every measure is taken to keep food prep as hygienic as possible, try keep in mind that the food you buy on the go at these things needs to be handled to get into a truck/transport, handled again at the venue and then handled to prepare before it is handed over to you. It is passing lots of people and lots of hands. Or passing right near the sneezing guy in the queue also waiting for food. You can’t starve yourself so I’m not saying don’t eat event food, but do try eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast and dinner. That way you know your body is not running on fast food for three days straight. I also pack snacks where I can like a small packet of nuts or a granola bar for in my car.

Boost your Vitamin C intake

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From the day before add some Vitamin C to your breakfast. Freshly squeezed Orange Juice or some sort of Vitamin C effervescent (which is my go to) works. At the event if I want something sweet to drink I try hunt down orange juice over fizzy drinks.

FIST BUMP

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This is harder to implement than you’d think. Cons are a place where friends meet. There is a lot of hand shaking.. sweaty hand shaking. Go for the fist bump.

Hand sanitiser is your friend

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Buy a little bottle of hand sanitiser and use it at regular intervals. You’re touching comics, playing on controllers and there have been a lot of hands all over those as well. I was really impressed with OMEN by HP stand at Comic Con as staff wiped down keyboards, mouse and headsets with sanitiser as someone finished playing on them before the next one sat down – but this isn’t something I’ve seen often. So when you’ve finished playing – hand sanitiser. Have a wait in the queue? Down time = hand sanitiser time!

Shower!

When you get home jump straight in the shower and clean up. You’ve been on your feet all day with other humans, likely getting a bit sweaty from working your way through crowds. When you get home get out of your clothes and get straight into the shower. You’ll feel immediately refreshed as well, so bonus!

Take a headache tablet

This particular point is not for the regular Con goer but rather for those working big events, esports competitors and/or talent on stage. I don’t like ever taking flu meds unless absolutely necessary but sometimes coming into a big 3 day event you know you’re going to struggle. If you’re coming into a big event off the back of flu (meaning your immune system is already compromised) get yourself an over the counter ibuprofen. Be sure it is over the counter medication that you’ve taken before, are familiar with and doesn’t overly effect you (like make you especially drowsy). I take one tablet in the evenings before bed and never more than 3 for any event (i.e. after 3 nights STOP). Ibuprofen does not cure flu but it does lower your temperature and works as a mild anti-inflammatory. I’m not a doctor. I’m not qualified to give medical advice. Please consult your doctor before popping pills. I’m simply sharing something that has worked for me in the past if I can feel the onset of flu and I know I have two or three full days of a Con ahead of me. Flu meds don’t work for me and make me feel extremely drowsy. One Mypaid in the evening before bed helps. I actually try never do more than 2 over 2 nights. Again, this is advice for people working long hours and is by no means qualified or quantified medical advice.

These are my tips for avoiding Con Flu. I’m hoping someone might find them useful. If you have any others let me know in the comments below!

Image credit: Ren10 Media for Omen images and By Jono for RedBull

 

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