Sunday, October 5, 2014

She Blinded Me with Science 10/4/14

*Note: I was stuck on a plane at a cruising altitude of about 30,000 ft during this week's broadcast, so this segment never reached the airwaves. It's still relavent though, so I'm posting it anyway.*

She Geek Eris drops a knowledge egg on dat ass via her segment on local radio show The Week in Geek. Here are this week's topics:

We're at CONtraflow SciFi this Weekend, and My Goal is to Avoid that Week of Ick that Follows Most Cons:

Conventions are great, but anyone who's been to a convention has at least heard of that seemingly unavoidable plague known throughout the Nation as Con Crud. Con Crud is essentially a cold or flu-like ick that con goers experience shortly after a convention ends. It is usually described as a fuzzy head, congestion, fatigue, and a general feeling of death warmed over that lasts anywhere from a few days to a week. Though it may not feel like it at the time, it is generally considered to be a mild viral infection. The prevalence of Con Crud increases with the number of people attending the convention, because larger conventions mean there are more people squeezed into tighter spaces without additional ventilation. With so many random people interacting with each other (many of whom have traveled from other geographic regions), the spread of germs is inevitable. No, you're not likely to contract ebola at your local sci-fi convention, but you'll probably come in contact with at least one carrier of the cold virus. 

That alone, however, is probably not enough to cause the prevalence of Con Crud. We don't, after all, hear nearly as many horror stories of people falling ill after the yearly librarian convention or Teacher's Association Meeting, so what is so different about conventions like CONtraflow or DragonCon or SDCC?
Well, in addition to being surrounded by strangers, con goers tend to physically interact with a large number of people by posing for photos, and shaking hands with or hugging all manner of guests, dealers, artists, etc (all of whom have shaken hands with countless random geeks already). Additionally, these conventions have a reputation of being a giant, continuous party with lots of drinking and socializing, and very little sleeping. Take all that into consideration, and it's no wonder our immune systems seem to clock out the moment we hit the host hotel.

So, can Con Crud be avoided or are we destined to suffer for our combined love of fandom? Short of wearing a full hazmat suit, there is no way to guarantee that you won't be exposed to a mild virus, however, there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of actually getting sick. Washing your hands regularly is always a good idea, and using hand sanitizer when washing your hands isn't an immediate option can help as well. Equally as important (and much easier to neglect), however, is getting enough sleep and eating well balanced meals throughout the weekend. Sorry, a bag of crisps and a reheated hot dog washed down with a rum and Coke doesn't count. Neither does a power nap in the hallway between panels. Drink a lot of water, opt for an apple or a handful of almonds instead of a Snickers bar for a snack, try to eat at least two well balanced meals a day, limit your alcohol intake, and get several hours of sleep each night. It's not easy (and I'm the first to admit that I often neglect to take care of myself a cons), but if you really need/want to combat Con Crud without donning a Fallout radiation suit all weekend, try to follow as many of these rules as you can.

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