Back in 2016, the Amendola Communications team collaborated on a blog post offering tips on how to stay healthy at HIMSS. With HIMSS 2018 coming up right as the U.S. in the midst of a flu epidemic, that sage advice is even more apropos.
You’re about to find yourself in a largely environmentally closed room with 42,000 of your industry compatriots. Many of those folks first walked through an airport and shared the same recirculated air in a jam-packed jet. It’s like a scenario from a disaster movie.
Even without all of that, it’s still a physical and mental marathon. It’s five straight days of being on point, on message, and on your feet. It’s HIMSS! To help you survive it, and perhaps avoid becoming one more tick in the flu statistics this year, here are some tips from the team at Amendola, who have years of HIMSS conferences under our belt.
Michelle Noteboom, Senior Account and Content Director: Assume you won’t get eight hours of sleep a night but find a way to get at least six. Make sure to drink a ton of water, which helps to hydrate you from all those late night adult beverages, and, seems to help a bit with swollen feet. Assume your feet will be swollen and your shoulders aching from lugging all the trinkets you collect from exhibitors. To that end, don’t forget Advil and Band-Aids for your feet. Bring healthy snacks for your hotel room, and finally, don’t skimp on coffee. That weak hotel room stuff doesn’t cut it when you have to be “on” for 18 hours straight. HIMSS requires a Venti Starbucks!
Margaret Kelly, Research Coordinator: Bring an emergency kit. For women, pack a clear-plastic and easy-to-get-to bag full of small amounts of Tylenol (or pain reliever of choice), Tums, “handitizor” (as my granddaughter calls it), bandages for the shoe blisters, safety pins, Chapstick, protein bar, and breath mints. The men’s version…just substitute the safety pins with duct tape, and a fanny pack for the plastic bag!
Todd Stein, Vice President: Be sure to schedule time for lunch. Many people fill up their schedules without remembering to leave time for eating. Me, for instance. Every darn year.
Amy Koehlmoos, Senior Account Director and Resident Germaphobe suggests bringing the following:
- Raw almonds (they’re small, portable, healthy and provide good energy)
- Anti-bacterial wipes (for the trays, arm/head rests in the plane; and the faucets, door handles, light switches in the hotel room)
- Small Ziploc baggies (I put remote controls in these as those suckers are the #1 place for nasty germs in hotel rooms!)
- Hand sanitizer (you shake lots of hands at these events!)
- Earplugs (help you get a good night’s sleep in a hotel, where there are often weird sounds and loud neighbors)
- Shoes with arch support (my philosophy is you look better wearing an orthopedic pair of shoes with confidence than you do limping around with a pained expression on your face and a pair of sassy heels on your feet)
- Phone/connections to loved ones (mental health is important and having easy access to pictures of family and the ability to Facetime them at night makes it a bit easier to be away from home).
Ken Krause, Senior Account and Content Director and our other Resident Germaphobe:
- Drive instead of fly. Planes are breeding grounds for germs, and they keep recirculating.
- Assume everything you’re about to touch has been previously touched by a small child with a runny nose. Proceed accordingly. That goes double for your hotel room.
- Eat like your significant other is there watching you. Nothing good comes from visiting the snack machine.
- Try not to touch your eyes or nose after touching a common surface such as a doorknob until you can either wash your hands or use a cleanser such as Purell.
- Get to sleep as soon as you can rather than staying up watching TV or reading. Sometimes business travel calls for working on minimal sleep, but don’t go out of your way to get into that state.