LARPs (live action role playing games) are something many gamers look forward to. In most cases, your favorite LARP doesn’t happen every weekend. Even if it does, missing LARP means missing out on plot, role play, experience, social interaction and stress relief. Flu season creates a problem for LARPers who share sleeping quarters, bathrooms, kitchens and other facilities. How can you avoid getting sick at LARPs? Check out these five tips for avoiding flu at LARPs.

  • If you’re sick, don’t go. Unfortunately, it’s easy to spread the flu to others, especially when you’re sharing a tent and bathrooms. If you go, it’s likely you’ll be miserable the entire time – and you’ll just make your friends sick. If you feel bad about missing the event, make sure to catch up by role playing on the forums or asking your friends to hang out elsewhere (when you aren’t sick anymore).
  • Pack hand sanitizer – and use it. Hand sanitizer isn’t exactly an item that could be considered ‘in character’ at many games, especially if you play in the medieval fantasy genre. However, it’s an easy tool for killing germs, especially if you’re using outhouses at camp sites. If you’re worried about looking ‘out of game’ with it, just get a small container and keep it in a pouch or your belongings.
  • Consider safety before role play. Isn’t it great when you go LARPing and get to see your friends that you haven’t seen in a month (or all winter)? You might want to hug them and share food! Unfortunately, that’s a horrible idea during flu season, and an easy way to get sick. Even if sharing drinks or hugging is part of the role play, try skipping it if you want to avoid the flu.
  • Get some sleep. If you’ve been exposed to a strain of influenza (or any other nasty bug), your body can’t fight it unless you’re well rested. Unfortunately, that may mean heading home early or missing a mod or other enjoyable component of LARP.
  • Get the flu shot. The flu shot doesn’t immunize you instantly and it doesn’t necessarily protect against all strains. It is still an excellent means of defense against the flu, greatly reducing the chance that you’ll get it. Get the flu shot as soon as it’s available to avoid catching and spreading the virus at the LARP.

If you do get sick and don’t take care of yourself, even the simplest cold could develop into pneumonia, which can land an otherwise healthy person directly in the hospital. Keep aware of your body and don’t push yourself – especially if you start to feel sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines can also help prevent pneumonia.

This post was originally published on Examiner.com.

Have you ever dealt with the flu at LARP? Share your warnings and war stories in the comments.

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