Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beating the Con Crud

Con Crud: It's become a geek plague, afflicting hundreds of poor unsuspecting convention-goers as they try to get back to their day jobs following a weekend of fantasy-themed debauchery and questionable clothing choices. I've had a long and storied history with it at BotCon, including the complete loss of my voice by Friday night at OTFCC 2003 (after working the merch pickup table all afternoon) and a prodigious case of strep throat at the end of BotCon 2007. For a while I was notorious for hogging the bathroom every morning and sleeping in on Sunday. But no more! I've conquered the Con Crud, and now that extra day I take off between coming home and going back to work can be spent enjoying life and finding shelf space for my new toys.
  1. Remember that you are a unique and special snowflake - The following advice is written by a 30-something woman with a moderate case of ulcerative colitis and frequent sinus problems. You may have an iron stomach. You may have an immune system of steel. You may not even need to read something like this! As we say here on the interwebs, YMMV.
  2. Airborne - Originally concocted to help travelers fight off the miasma that passes for air on airplanes, Airborne has been my secret weapon since 2008. The dry, overprocessed, overshared air of hotels and convention centers has a lot in common with airplane air. One of these before leaving your room every morning will go a long way toward making your Monday more pleasant.
  3. Probiotics - Personally, my stomach is not up to the stress of travel and constant crappy fast food. Even before my colitis really started making things unpleasant, I'd spend Sunday morning tied to the toilet - very annoying for my roommates who were just trying to shower and get to the MSTF show. Adding probiotics in the form of pills, yogurt, or something else to your diet about a week before the con can help prepare your insides for the stress to come.
  4. Pack a lunch - I started doing this to save money when BotCon was in a Disney resort hotel and lunch couldn't be had for less than ~$15, but it's good for your health, too. Most hotel rooms will have a small refrigerator, and you can get sandwich fixins or something more ambitious from a convenience store or Target nearby. Keep it in a sealed container in your backpack and find yourself freed from the shackles of constant fast food! Clif bars and similar prepackaged goodies are good to keep in your pack as well.
  5. Hand sanitizer - Usually I curse hand sanitizer as a major contributor to the evolution of supergerms, but there are times when it really is a good idea. This is one of them.
  6. Get some sleep -  I know this can be next to impossible when your favorite comic writer is hanging out in the bar downstairs well into the night, but it's important. The older I get, the harder it is to operate on a sum total of 4 hours of sleep for the weekend. Don't be like me at BotCon 2007, lying on the ground in front of the Hasbro booth because you're too out of it (also: feverish) to stay standing. Get some sleep.
  7. Be prepared - Add this to the TMI file if you like, but nearly without fail I am on my period during every single BotCon. I've never figured out what grudge my body has against me. I know by now that I need a box of tampons for my suitcase (or, more recently, a Keeper and a couple reusable cloth pads, but again, TMI file). If you think you're likely to get sinus headaches/sore feet/backaches/a visit from the Scarlet Crusade, make sure you pack what you need to take care of them.

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