Avoiding Con Plague
Con Plague, Con Funk, Nerd Plague. I've heard it said so many ways, but it always boils down to the same thing: Getting hella sick after a con. You can get this from not showering enough (or at all), not properly eating, and not getting an appropriate amount of sleep. It isn't exclusive to just those factors, but those are the biggest contributors at conventions. I have gotten it a few times, and with a few of my friends complaining about it, I thought I would talk about how we can avoid it to hopefully prevent more people from suffering with it.
First off, if you are sick, DO NOT GO TO THE CON. You should be at home, resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and working on getting better. There are always more cons, always more opportunities to see friends. Do not be patient zero at the con. Please.
If you are not the one that is sick, follow the 6-2-1 rule. If you haven't heard of that before, it's six hours of sleep, at least two meals (preferably three), and at least one shower a day. My rule is that if I am wearing a lot of makeup or am sweating a lot, I will shower once in the morning, and once after I am done at the con for the day. If you only have enough money to either feed yourself or buy merch, EAT. Nine times out of ten, you can get a card and contact the vendor later about getting the thing you have you heart set on. I can't tell you how many people took their food money to buy things. Please be smart about your money.
If you take proper care of yourself, you should be able to enjoy the con and the days after without getting sick. Please remember to take your medicine, and if you are running around everywhere, please set alarms on your phone, and let your friends know as well. That way you have multiple failsafes in order to remember taking your meds. It'll be okay to be a little late sometimes, but especially during a con, if you have something either life threatening or super important, make sure to take your meds on time.
One way to further avoid getting con plague is to not hug random strangers. I know it seems rude, but you don't know where these people have been and they don't know where you've been. I have been called mean because I won't touch people I don't know, or I am really apprehensive. But because I am a small business owner, I don't really get the luxury of being able to stop and take time to recuperate. I don't have another form of income in order to take time off. Others are in the same boat. Just be aware of others around you.
Drink plenty of water. Honestly, you should buy a 24 pack of water bottles and probably go through at least half of them over the weekend, just by yourself. Especially if you are drinking alcohol. Between drinks, definitely try to drink at least half a bottle of water, it also helps with the hangover the next day. If you need variety, juices high in vitamin c are super helpful as well.
Make sure you get enough sleep. Your body has a hard enough time functioning with eating terribly, being dehydrated, and being around so many other people, and getting little to no sleep is even worse. You need at least 4 hours for a full REM cycle, so always aim for that long. I know it's difficult to do that with the excitement of the con, but make parameters for yourself and others to follow in your room so that everyone can get enough sleep for the weekend. Melatonin is an over the counter medication that you can take if you have a hard time falling asleep due to noise or anxiety. Make sure you can take it with your other meds before taking it, just in case.
I know this shouldn't have to be said, but I am gonna say it anyway: Wash your hands EVERY time you go to the bathroom. Use soap, and wash them for 20 seconds. It honestly isn't that long of time. You can hum "Are you Sleeping" and it's done. Or you can wash to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." This keeps the bad germs off, and the good germs on.
I wish you the best of luck trying to avoid con plague in the future. I have a little bit of a throat thing, but I should be fine in the next couple days. Please be safe at any conventions you go to and have fun!