At the time of posting this, we are just 3 weeks away from San Diego Comic-Con! One thing SDCC newbies might not be aware of (I know we had no clue about it our first time until it was too late) is that if you’re not careful, you could end up with a case of Con Crud. What is Con Crud, and how can you avoid getting it? Read on to find out!
So, just what is Con Crud? It’s the name that con-goers have lovingly given to any sort of illness that you happen to pick up from going to a convention. It’s usually a cold or flu, with symptoms that may include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, fever, headache, etc. Any time you get a large number of people in the same place, sickness is bound to spread. With San Diego Comic-Con being the granddaddy of the cons at 130,000+ attendees, you’d better believe that you’re going to be exposed to more than one sick person during your time there, whether you know it or not. However, you can take steps to prevent catching the Con Crud.
1. Start building up your immune system now. If you don’t already take a daily multivitamin, you should start doing so now, and continue to do so while you’re at the con. We also recommend during the week of SDCC taking Emergen-C Immune+ once per day. It’s a packet of powder with Vitamin C and other vitamins and nutrients that you mix into a cup or bottle of water and drink. The first year we attended SDCC, in 2012, we went in totally uninformed about Con Crud, and 3 out of 4 of us ended up coming down with it by the time we got home. (The 4th person, Davey, doesn’t count though, because he’s worked at a hospital for 10+ years and has built up such a strong immune system that he never gets sick.) In 2013, both of us (Josh and Violet) drank Emergen-C Immune+ each evening of SDCC upon returning to the hotel, and we ended up not getting Con Crud! However, our friend Tamara did not drink it, and she was sick by Friday night. She opted to stay at the hotel that night and all day Saturday, missing out on Loki taking over Hall H, and the entire X-Men: Days of Future Past cast coming out on stage. In 2014 and 2015, I made sure our whole group (4 in 2014 and 5 in 2015) drank it every night. Lo and behold, none of us got sick either year! So make time during the con to take your vitamins — it really makes a difference!
2. Wash your hands frequently. You’ll be touching a lot of things that a lot of other people have touched. You’ll be shaking the hands of people you meet, hugging friends both old and new. Even security that greets you as you’re walking into Hall H gives everyone a high five as you go in. Then you’ll presumably be eating finger food sometime later that day. So make sure to wash your hands every chance you get!
3. Bring anti-bacterial hand sanitizer. Okay, so you might be camping out in Hall H all day, and you won’t want to have to keep going all the way to the bathroom and fighting the line there just to wash your hands. Or you might be outside in line for Hall H and you want to eat something, whether it be a snack that you brought, or some food your line buddy went and got. This is where hand sanitizer comes in handy, no pun intended. Each person in your group should have their own individual small bottle.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. We know, there’s so much going on both during the day and at night at SDCC that it’s hard to get more than a few hours of sleep. But a good night of rest can do wonders for your body, so try to get as much sleep as possible, since your immune system tends to weaken when you don’t get enough sleep. If you think you’re starting to feel sick, you might want to consider skipping the night’s activities in favor of a full night of sleep so that you can enjoy the next day and night of the con better. As I mentioned above, in 2013 our friend Tamara was starting to feel sick on Friday night, so she stayed in, and by Saturday night she was feeling well enough to join us in camping out for Hall H so that she could attend the Doctor Who panel on Sunday.
5. Just use common sense and be hygenic. If you have to sneeze or cough, do so into your elbow. It also might be a good idea not to share drinks with anyone. Even if they’re not displaying symptoms of illness, they could still be a carrier. Make sure you shower every day. Not only because otherwise you’ll stink and everyone around you will not like you very much, but also so that you’ll wash away any germs you may have picked up.
Of course, these tips apply not only to San Diego Comic-Con, but to any other con, or any event in which a large number of people gather in the same space. In 2014, we went to Phoenix Comicon for the first time, and for some reason it didn’t even cross our minds to prepare like we would have for SDCC in regards to trying to avoid Con Crud. We didn’t bring hand sanitizer, and did not drink Emergen-C. By the following Wednesday, I (Violet) started feeling sick, and it all of a sudden dawned on me what had happened – I had caught Con Crud. I felt silly, because I had been going to cons for awhile, and should have known better. I had apparently vastly underestimated Phoenix Comicon, which ended up with an attendance of almost 78,000 that year! It took me about a week to fully recover. In 2015 and 2016, we made sure to drink Emergen-C every day at Phoenix Comic-Con, and neither of us got sick. That’s why we now make sure to take the above precautions for all cons, not just San Diego Comic-Con!
We’ll be offering more SDCC Tips as we get closer to San Diego Comic-Con, so keep an eye out for those!