Convention flu goes by many names. It is the plague you get when you travel to a convention or trade show, only to come back with some nameless strain of croup resistant to all known antibiotics. It will cost you a few days in bed when you get back, or a few days of severely reduced productivity. Even if you manage to keep your productivity up to acceptable levels, you will be miserable.
Not attending the next trade show isn’t an option. You have to go. It’s your job. But you don’t have to come home feeling like the leftovers from a CDC lab experiment gone bad. Regardless of what name you give it, convention flu is not a new problem and there are many tried and true methods of fighting it. You just have to follow a few steps categorized under the heading, “conventional wisdom,” and you will be as right as rain:
Wear a Mask at the Airport
Anything that compromises your immune system is something you will want to avoid, especially when going someplace where a lot of nameless illness are in the air. There are more deadly airport toxins than you can imagine. When flying the friendly skies, you are not just exposed to the general airborne viruses. Your immune system also has to deal with the chemical assault generated by the modern, magic carpet industry.
While flying may be safe, it is not especially healthy. Face masks can help. The CDC recommends their use in situations where you are in close contact with sick people. Your time in an airport, and especially on the plane, represents close contact. Assume everyone you encounter is sick. It’s not paranoia when it’s true. When it comes to protecting yourself against convention flu, the journey is just as important as the destination.
Carry Hand Sanitizer
Packing a one-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer is literally taking an ounce of prevention. As the infographic shows, the top causes of death are preventable. Applying that lesson to convention sickness can do wonders for your health. Every hand you shake, every surface you touch, every demo you handle is a petri dish of plague.
Thinking you are doing others a favor, you cover your own mouth when you cough (with that same hand you used to open the bathroom door), and offer that hand to some other unsuspecting soul. These types of scenarios cannot be completely avoided. What you can do is carry your own bottle of hand sanitizer. And use it frequently, if not obsessively.
Make Healthy Eating Choices and Get a Full Night’s Sleep
Two of the first casualties of a trade show trip are sensible eating and sensible sleeping. If anything, business travelers need to eat smarter and sleep longer than they normally do. This is because the body tends to be less capable of fighting off sickness when it doesn’t get a proper diet or rest. Even if you don’t come back with convention flu, you will still need to take time to recover from the trip if you don’t take care of yourself.
After traveling it is common to have discomfort in your chest or breathing problems. They can be serious symptoms that require a visit to the doctor. But most of the time, those symptoms are caused by the seldom deadly and all too avoidable convention flu. While it is possible to get sick even after taking every precaution, you greatly decrease your chances of becoming a victim of the modern plague by wearing a face mask at the airport, taking your own hand sanitizer, and eating and sleeping like a responsible adult.