September is Expo month in South Africa if you’re a geek or gaming fan. For the last two weeks of the month, two of the country’s biggest conventions run back to back with Comic-Con Africa taking place from the 21st to the 24th of September and rAge expo, a gaming convention, happening straight afterwards from the 27th to the 29th of September.
Expos and Conventions are awesome but they’re also a breeding ground for the dreaded Con Flu - the horrible sickness many visitors tend to get hit with a few days after the event. It makes sense: a large number of people are together in big halls for long durations. Patient Zero is rubbing up against you as he tries to get hands-on with the latest game and, slowly, the bug spreads.
Unless you follow these helpful tips on how to avoid Con Flu.
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 sugary 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. Drinking a large amount of water will also mean you have less of an appetite… which leads us to tip number 2.
There is nothing nutritious at Cons/expos/esports events. It is usually pizza, fries, burgers and anything else fatty and quick to make. While every measure is taken to keep food prep as hygienic as possible, 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 we’re not saying don’t eat event food, but do eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast and dinner. That way you know your body is not running on fast food for three days straight. Also, pack snacks where you can like a small packet of nuts or a granola bar in your car or on transport to the venue.
From the day before the Con, add some Vitamin C to your breakfast. Freshly squeezed Orange Juice or some sort of Vitamin C effervescent works. At the event, if you want something sweet to drink, try to hunt down orange juice over fizzy drinks.
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.
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. When you’ve finished playing – hand sanitiser. Have a wait in the queue? Downtime = hand sanitiser time!
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!
Article by Sam Wright | Tech Girl