I Am Not a Doctor: Avoiding Con Crud Aug 08


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I Am Not a Doctor: Avoiding Con Crud

We all know it. We all hate it. Con plague, con crud, con cold, whatever you want to call it. When you get large groups of people together, sickness spreads like a miasma.

I am not a doctor of Medicine or anything else, but I have played one in a LARP. And despite having spent most of my life with an immune system so awesome that it likes to run training exercises, I do know a thing or two about avoiding getting sick. Here are some tips that are particularly helpful at conventions.


Cons offer a great opportunity to wear pretty much whatever you want. You can dress as an established character, and original character, or even make up your own fandom and try to convince people that a made-up TV show exists. This allows you to incorporate things like respirator masks, which prevent foul-smelling air from contaminating you (we still believe that causes illness, right? Haven’t studied this in like 300 years but it’s all the same basic stuff.) You could also considered wearing a giant hoop skirt to keep everyone away. Also useful for smuggling in dodgeballs with which to hit anyone who gets too close.


I know. Conventions have all kinds of delicious food. There’s got to be a hot dog vendor who offers sauerkraut, right? Eat sauerkraut. Not only will the vinegar and/or natural antibiotic and/or probiotic and/or magical properties* help to keep you healthy, the smell of your breath will also keep people from getting to close to you and spreading germs.


A neti pot looks like a teapot or the lamp from Aladdin. You fill it with room temperature saline and, through the power of gravity and suppressing any fears of drowning, run that saline through your nasal cavities to clear out any gunk. This is particularly useful if you have accidentally summoned any Eldritch horrors to take up residence in your sinuses, which will flush harmlessly out into the sink. Good-bye, Eldritch horrors! If you have purposefully summoned such and are waiting faithfully for your horror to incubate, please disregard this tip.


Another option is to telecommute to the convention. You can either hire someone or build your own robot to carry around a tablet that allows you to Skype into the convention from the comfort of your own home or hotel room. As a note, building your own robot will earn you lots more geek cred.


Do we really need a paragraph explaining that?

A bottle of Patron wearing a black and gray respirator mask

I named this file Tequilamask which makes me think of Tuxedo Mask, and man, Tequila Mask would be a great superhero.

And there we have it. Five foolproof** ways to avoid getting sick at a con.

*Sometimes, I just don’t even know anymore. Are eggs healthy this year?

**I’m not even putting a footnote here, I just though it needed some stars.

About Lisa

Lisa's introduction to geekdom was the X-Men animated series as a child. From there, it progressed to raiding the quarter bin at the local comics shop, hunting for Elfquest volumes that she didn't yet own, and being completely confused by THAC0 in Castle Ravenloft and Menzoberranzen on the computer. A brief stint in middle school and high school of being anime-and-Final Fantasy obsessed followed. Slash fiction was read; terrible slash fiction was written. Tabletop gaming did not properly get introduced until college; from her first campaign (Shadowrun, playing a medic adept Medical Doctor who somehow managed to keep the Hippocratic Oath), she has had a fondness for offbeat characters (feel free to ask about the time the party got Gnomed). Nowadays, she enjoys Pathfinder, still replays Final Fantasy games on the regular, and recently spent over a year on Skyrim while still not getting all the trophies. Lisa would describe herself as a casual gamer, an angry feminist, and a lover of small gaming conventions. She is kept by one spoiled dog.