How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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mulch
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How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby mulch » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:56 am

So I'm a health care professional who deals with lots of upper respiratory infections and such. Many of these are preventable with just a few precautions and a bit of insight. The last thing you want is to get sick before BM and the last thing the rest of us want are people bringing their nasty illnesses to the playa.

So here are some tips to reduce your chance of getting an upper respiratory illness between now and then.

First, what is the most avoidable way to innoculate yourself with a cold virus or other viral URTI?

Touching your face. People rub their eyes as a matter of routine more than you might think. So you are in the grocery and touch the cart that some nasty 4 year old had in their day care mouth before you. You look over at the kiwi fruit and then without thinking rub your eyes. Well now you are sick and you bring it to the playa and share a cigarette or a kiss and get the whole camp sick.

So be aware of that all too common route and rub your eyes with the inside of your shirt, freshly washed or sanitized hands, or a kleenex. Same goes for rubbing your nose or mouth or cramming your finger up your nose. just say no.

Second, what is the most common source(s) of getting sick?

Kids.

If you can avoid being around young daycare kids, just avoid it. If you are, keep your guard up, they are little germ factories with indiscriminate habits that include rubbing their nose fingers on things that you will later touch when your guard is down.

Third, what is the most common line of bullshit that people with infectious upper respiratory problems lay on their cohorts and family.

"My allergies are acting up" sure allergies are common, but when they "act up" it often means that that person has a cold and they have mis diagnosed themselves. People love to do this, blame everythig on allergies. If it really is an allergy, no big deal, but if they actually have some worm dirty virus that they caught from their nasty daycare rug rat, you need to stay away from them and avoid sharing a joint with them at all cost.

Fourth - What things should you bring to the playa that you may not have thought of in case you still get sick on the plane or on your way or before you leave?

Afrin, advil, and zinc gluconate preparations. Afrin is super great safe medicine for nasal congestion, and while you should only use it for 3 - 5 days, that will be a much better 3 - 5 days than it would be with a stopped up nose.

Advil is great for colds, takes all the cranky feelings out, may help nasal congestion, and of course is great for hangovers too.

Zinc gluconate lozenges - like cold eeze© or store brand zinc gluconate lozenges... start sucking them at the first signs of catching a cold or if your "allergies flare up", and several valid studies suggest that the duration of minor viral upper respiratory infections can be greatly reduced.


see ya'll there.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Elliot » Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:33 pm

:D
Great info!

Now I'll try:

Bring a supply of Imodium A-D. Technical name Loperamide Hydrochloride. A-D stands for Anti-Diarrheal. Stops diarrhea -- "the runs" -- dead in its tracks in just three or four hours and lasts at least a day. It seems to essentially "freeze" all digestive activity, so don't eat much after you take it. Cheap. Generic version available even cheaper. In all drug stores and most grocery stores. Of course, as always, YMMV.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby littlebird » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:08 pm

I've read several places on this board that a neti-pot is a good thing to bring. Is it?

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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:10 pm

People use it to irrigate their sinuses. I use nasal saline. I do not want to know what happens to that water...
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby littlebird » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:26 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:People use it to irrigate their sinuses. I use nasal saline. I do not want to know what happens to that water...


Ah, the water from the neti-pot; I hadn't thought of that. When you say nasal saline, do you mean the bottles that they sell at drug stores that you squeeze and snort up?

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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:32 pm

That's the stuff.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:37 pm

Any means that you don't have to wash before each use is probably easiest, which is why I don't take my neti pot out there.

I am really cheap about it: I use contact lenses, so I use the saline intended for my eyes. I just tip my head back and put a couple drops down each nostril once daily, almost like I'm putting in eyedrops, but missed. :lol:

It's not super-scientifc, but it cuts way back on the surprises when you blow your nose on Day 3 . . .
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:25 pm

I use the cheap nasal squeeze spray saline, for my nose, boric acid for my eyes, and cognac (or any liquor) for the rest of me.

simple/direct.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Ugly Dougly » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:07 pm

mulch wrote:... or cramming your finger up your nose. just say no....

:(
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Sundial » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:48 am

Thanks! This has been on my mind lately.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Sundial » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:50 am

littlebird wrote:I've read several places on this board that a neti-pot is a good thing to bring. Is it?


I had read/heard somewhere that there are certain bacteria that can be present in normally processed tap water that, while perfectly harmless if ingested, can KILL you if taken nasally. Rare, but not unheard of.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby mulch » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:12 am

We lost two netti potters in Louisiana recently to naegleria fowleri, the amoeba that you refer to.

You always use at a minimum bottled drinking water, never tap water unless boiled. And in people who have had sinus surgery, tap water can set up an infection with pseudomonas. Not dangerous but stubborn.

I cas see how water boarding yourself might be good in a dusty environment, but really your nose already has a plan for that. I treat sinus patients for a living, and except for certain uncommon situations, I don't recommend saline washes. If people find them helpful for some reason, I think that the Mc Neil squirt bottles that they sell in the pharmacies right next to the neti pots makes much more mechanical sense.

To really help sinus problems with a neti pot, you hold it like a baby, rub the side of it as you close your eyes and wish for a problem free nose. Works every time.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby VultureChow » Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:25 am

Good god people. Your finger fits in your nose for a reason. Mine for gold (or cement on the playa).

Weird, I know, but I genuinely enjoy the sensation, at least more than I would a wash. It's like scratching an itch.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby mulch » Fri Aug 02, 2013 7:30 am

I'm all for digging in your nose or flossing it or whatever. Just dont be putting your finger in your nose if you have been around nasty sick people or kids in particular unless you want to catch a cold and take it the playa and share it with your friends. So run some vodka on your finger first or God forbid wash with soap first if you aren't sure, then dig away.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby illy dilly » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:09 am

mulch wrote:I'm all for digging in your nose or flossing it or whatever. Just dont be putting your finger in your nose if you have been around nasty sick people or kids in particular unless you want to catch a cold and take it the playa and share it with your friends. So run some vodka on your finger first or God forbid wash with soap first if you aren't sure, then dig away.

When you say flossing your nose, is this what you mean?
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VultureChow wrote:Good god people. Your finger fits in your nose for a reason. Mine for gold (or cement on the playa).

Weird, I know, but I genuinely enjoy the sensation, at least more than I would a wash. It's like scratching an itch.

Si Senorita!
I think for people that live in dry climates all year picking is a necessity. You can only blow your nose so hard.
BUT! They made bathrooms and private spaces for a reason.
Side note- Your car, is not a private space. Everyone else at the stop light can see you.
I believe its best not to start screwing with your bodies ph levels, especially in the ears, nose, and throat. I always feel like once I start using eye drops or nasal sprays I have to keep using them and my body can't get things back to normal or self-sustaining for a while.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:41 pm

illy dilly wrote: I always feel like once I start using eye drops or nasal sprays I have to keep using them and my body can't get things back to normal or self-sustaining for a while.


It's true, people can get dependent on both nasal sprays and redness relievers, and have to wean themselves off.

I bring preservative-free artificial tears instead, for that reason. My eyes don't get hooked on those.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby PhoenixFemmeFatale » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:10 pm

I went to the dollar store today and GOOD GOD, THIS THREAD IS HAUNTING ME! I touched the handle to go in (and thought of this thread, grabbed a cart (thought of this thread), etc... Everything I touch/do this thread lurks I the depths of my subconscious and whispers menacingly. My kids start school on Monday - what will I do then?!? Little germ carriers that they are, diving into the cesspool of public school! I know... Lysol! Lots of Lysol! I will strip them down and disinfect them when they get off the school bus before they're allowed to enter the house! I think I might be doomed - DOOMED I TELL YOU! :shock:
I think my throat feels scratchy, my eyes burn a little, I think a headache is starting.... :wink:
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Savannah » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:34 pm

PhoenixFemmeFatale wrote:I went to the dollar store today and GOOD GOD, THIS THREAD IS HAUNTING ME! I touched the handle to go in (and thought of this thread, grabbed a cart (thought of this thread), etc... Everything I touch/do this thread lurks I the depths of my subconscious and whispers menacingly. My kids start school on Monday - what will I do then?!? Little germ carriers that they are, diving into the cesspool of public school! I know... Lysol! Lots of Lysol! I will strip them down and disinfect them when they get off the school bus before they're allowed to enter the house! I think I might be doomed - DOOMED I TELL YOU! :shock:
I think my throat feels scratchy, my eyes burn a little, I think a headache is starting.... :wink:


Do whatever you need to do! :lol:

I'm picturing you lurking wild-eyed in the hallway wearing a slightly cockeyed Army helmet; back against the wall, holding a mega-can of Lysol with your finger on the trigger . . . .
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 02, 2013 9:23 pm

If you're lucky those toddling cesspools will die of childhood, and you'll be able to resume your nice germ-free adulthood.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby moonrise » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:53 am

Thank you for volunteering to be the NEW CAMP LEADER for KIDSVILLE mulch! :lol: They'll be in good hands.

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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Sic Pup » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:04 am

theCryptofishist wrote:If you're lucky those toddling cesspools will die of childhood, and you'll be able to resume your nice germ-free adulthood.


I finally figured it out you're incorrigibleness is one of the qualities that I find so appealing in your posts. Silly me, I held off on posting:

You have a car? It has windows?


....or maybe I didn't.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby mulch » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:02 am

I went to the dollar store today and GOOD GOD, THIS THREAD IS HAUNTING ME! I touched the handle to go in (and thought of this thread, grabbed a cart (thought of this thread), etc... Everything I touch/do this thread lurks I the depths of my subconscious and whispers menacingly


Mission accomplished.

Despite having never been to BM, I've seen 50 Mardi Gras and if someone in our crew is sick it seems like the whole team gets sick, all the greeting kisses, tasting drinks, and passing cigarettes around and general inattention is just the scene little Johnnies corona virus is looking for. So it's quarantine time as we lead up to the event.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby graidawg » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:15 am

I heard recently (you know from a bloke in the pub or something) that it is now thought the reason so many people have allergies and lots of colds/illness is that they aren't exposed to enough germs personally i have never had an issue with those filth filled things commonly called "children" I don't find a bit of dirt or muck all that bothersome.

last time i had a cold?

2010...

no allergies whatsoever


now it may be 1 of two things, first it could be my upbringing, back in the days when the british didn't have showers, bathed on a sunday, all using the same bath water ( I am sure I got out dirtier than i went in). surfaces were wiped with the dishwater when you finished washing up. anti-bacterial was ... er well it wasn't. Anything less serious than actual death or dismemberment was treated with either lucozade or a plaster and if you did go to the Dr you got treated with disdain by this pillar of the community for wasting his time (unless you actually had bubonic plague)

or it could be the large anounts of alcohol i drink - have you ever seen a tramp with a cold? no because the first thing to die from alcohol is germs

so how to stop being sick at BM? MAN UP*, that little fucking snivel is not a cold its your body telling you stop being a wuss. Got dirty hands? wipe 'em on your trousers that'll do.


Honestly if anything is going to make me sick it's seeing a bunch of hypochondriac people walking around BRC with antiseptic hand cleanser worrying about a bit of dust up there nose


*man up is used in the generic sense. most woman i know are way tougher than men**

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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby mulch » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:00 am

I don't recommend worrying about it once you get there at all. I'm not taking sanitizer or Lysol to the playa that's for sure. The point is to prevent ahead of time. Allergies :rollseyes:
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Elliot » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:45 am

graidawg wrote:...it is now thought the reason so many people have allergies and lots of colds/illness is that they aren't exposed to enough germs personally...

Sounds right. I have friends with small children, and they (the parents) are aware of this. They let the kids crawl around in anything and get into anything. They call it "gathering wonderful immunities".
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:52 am

mulch wrote:I don't recommend worrying about it once you get there at all. I'm not taking sanitizer or Lysol to the playa that's for sure. The point is to prevent ahead of time. Allergies :rollseyes:


interesting: do you dismiss most "allergies" as far as respiratory?
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby Elorrum » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:13 am

I been less concerned about catching a cold at Burning Man and more about intestinal sorts of things from less than optimum hand washing. If I offer my baggie of gorp or chips, I make to pour it out into people's hands instead of inviting several people to reach in. Mainly I don't worry. I bring tums, pink bismuth generic pepto tablets, and immodium in case of discomfort.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:35 am

my favorite stomach remedy is "green black walnut and wormwood" tincture. They are mixed, and if take at first "uh oh, my tummy feels wierd", has always cleared up the problem.....may take an hour or two, or a couple of doses (dropper full in a little water).Seems to kill most of the pathogens in bad food stuff? dunno, but it works for me.
it's available at most health food stores.
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby mulch » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:02 am

Do you dismiss allergies


I pay the house note treating allergies and doing skin and blood tests for them. So sure, they are real but so often when people say their allergies have flared up, especially in the middle of the summer, and they are alluding to a 10 day episode of stuffy nose and sneezing, what they had was a cold. If your problem Is really allergy, no problem as far as this issue is concerns they are not contagious. As mentioned, beware the friend who says that last week their allergies flared up, they may have a cold. Catching a cold or is is no big deal, but damn, we plan all sorts of things to make this week special, you want a potentially avoidable and common problem to reduce your joy ?
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Re: How to reduce the chances of being sick for Burning Man

Postby ygmir » Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:48 am

mulch wrote:
Do you dismiss allergies


I pay the house note treating allergies and doing skin and blood tests for them. So sure, they are real but so often when people say their allergies have flared up, especially in the middle of the summer, and they are alluding to a 10 day episode of stuffy nose and sneezing, what they had was a cold. If your problem Is really allergy, no problem as far as this issue is concerns they are not contagious. As mentioned, beware the friend who says that last week their allergies flared up, they may have a cold. Catching a cold or is is no big deal, but damn, we plan all sorts of things to make this week special, you want a potentially avoidable and common problem to reduce your joy ?


ah ok, makes sense. I know I am an allergy(?) sufferer, and just wondered your thoughts.

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