A Webcomic’s (or anyone else’s) Guide to Not Getting the Con Crud

If you attend a lot of conventions or simply leave your house, you might find that you get sick every once in awhile. Conventions are huge petri dishes of sickness because there are so many people in a small space. I used to get almost every time after a con. One time, I got such a severe bout of stomach flu, I literally thought I was going to die. All I remember is lying in bed being unable to even dial 911. It traumatized me so much that I made some changes in how I do things. I haven’t gotten sick yet since making those changes, so I’m here to share with you my tricks to reducing the chance that you will catch the con crud.

Stop Relying on Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer cleans your hands, right? Well…kind of. It doesn’t kill viruses. I used to be a hand sanitizer devotee. I used hand sanitizer religiously before I got the stomach flu from hell. I still got the stomach flu because it didn’t kill everything that was on my hands when I went to eat. Since then I haven’t even bothered carrying hand sanitizer. It does help somewhat, but it doesn’t do enough.

Consciously Wash Your Hands: This is a no-brainer, but I do not want to go into how many people I see at the con ROLL ON OUT OF THE BATHROOM WITHOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS. It’s nasty. I thought we learned this in Sesame Street, but geez, a lot of people do this at cons! Wash your hands every time you use the bathroom. Use a paper towel to open the door on your way out so you don’t touch the doorknob where the non-handwashing people have touched – especially if you are about to eat.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Don’t rub your eyes or mouth without immediately washing your hands before doing so. Disease can enter the body via your eyes and mouth. Don’t put the germs inside you!

Don’t Share Communal Bags of Unwrapped Snacks: It’s always the people reaching into the communal bags of chips or pretzels that seem to get the con crud. Guess why? It’s because people who haven’t washed their hands have stuck their hands in there and contaminated everything. Bring wrapped snacks to your con table so that you can open one and eat it without putting your hand on the food before doing so.

Don’t Touch Your Food: Like I said above, bring wrapped snacks. You could also use a napkin to pick up and eat the food. Basically, don’t touch anything you are about to eat before washing your hands.

What I am saying is – don’t rely on hand sanitizer, don’t touch your face, don’t touch food you are about to eat, don’t share communal snacks, and make sure to wash your hands really well before you eat. Doing all of these things are annoying, but it works. Imagine you are doing surgery and your orifices are open wounds. Sure, that’s a bit extreme, but I have not gotten sick at all since I started doing this. The less sick you are, the more comics you can make and the more cons you can go to.