Trade Show Survival Tactics
Stay healthy in Vegas this year
BY MATILDE PARENTE, MD
Published in the May 2012 issue
Whether you’re a tradeshow first-timer or a Vegas veteran, you could be in store for a few battle scars. The lucky might escape with foot blisters, cracked hands or bonedeep fatigue. For others, the carnage can mean whopping migraines, stomach upset or clouded thinking from too much food and drink. What’s a jeweler to do?
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO HELP KEEP YOU HEALTHY AT THE SHOWS.
1 PROTECT YOUR SKIN.
Again and again. With an average humidity of 21 percent in June, Las Vegas can make skin prune up in no time. Ditto for dry, air-conditioned ballrooms and the casino floor. Keep skin well hydrated by applying plenty of moisturizer after showering and before bedtime. Choose a creamier product than what you normally use at home — unless you happen to live in Death Valley. Body and face creams are more emollient and less drying than thin moisturizers, which helps create better barrier protection against moisture loss. Guys aren’t immune either. Find men’s products from Nivea and Dove at drugstores and supermarkets, or men’s lines from Clinique and Shiseido at department stores.
2GIVE FEET AND HANDS EXTRA LOVING.
Cracked hands and heels are no fun. Not only can they interfere with common client interactions but they’ll also make you wince at the thought of handling jewels or helping a customer. Use an ultra-emollient body butter for hands and feet twice daily while at the show. Rub a thick layer on the back of your hands and massage cream around each nail. Worried about handling jewelry or your smartphone with greasy hands? Just wipe down your palms and fingertips with a moistened baby wipe and you’ll have moisture-saving cream only where you need it.
3DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON YOU.
With June highs of 100 degrees or more, Las Vegas sunlight can make you a crispy critter in no time. Note to the darkcomplected: Sunburn is an equal-opportunity offender. Slather on plenty of sunscreen, especially if you plan to walk outdoors to or from the convention floor. Apply sunscreen after moisturizer and before makeup. Make sure to use a product with an SPF of 30 or greater on face, neck, chest and back of the hands. SPF makeup alone is no match for June sunlight. Use it as insurance, but don’t count on it for adequate sun protection.
Outdoor heat, low humidity and the go-go tradeshow pace will dehydrate you in no time. Getting behind in fluids can lead to fatigue or worse, especially for people with other health conditions or those who take diuretics, commonly called water pills. Make it your business to drink plenty of water, non-sugary drinks and waterpacked foods such as apples, pears, grapes, melon, tomatoes and lettuce. Coffee and tea are mild diuretics themselves, yet both count toward daily fluid intake. How much is enough? At least eight 8-ounce servings of fluid a day are usually enough for the average person in milder climates – guzzle at least two to three extra 8-ounce servings to help keep delicate tissues moist in a hotter, drier climate. Your eyes, nose and throat will thank you. Tank up even more if you plan on getting exercise during your trip.
5WATCH THE GRAZING.
Cows have four stomachs churning away to digest the grass they graze on. Humans only have one, so put the brakes on grazing at every booth. Eat a hearty breakfast that contains protein to help you stay focused on getting the job done on the floor. Have a lean protein at lunch, too, and go easy on carbs to keep rebound hunger at bay. When tempted by vendor goodies, keep in mind that eating just 350 calories a week more than what you burn translates into a weight gain of more than five pounds every year. Just one iced chocolate mocha or one-and-a-half energy bars a week will pack on the pounds. Take advantage of Vegas’ culinary delights instead. Eat real food and restrict eating to mealtime only during your trip.
6 GO EASY ON THE ALCOHOL.
Geez, so this one’s no fun at all. Trade show destinations do an expert job of keeping guests well lubricated. By hitting the sauce too heavily during showtime, you run the risk of sleep disturbance, dehydration and the dreaded hangover headache — not to mention bad decision-making that can land you in trouble. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with a no-calorie refresher. Have fun, but make it your business to stay within your limits. This is business, after all.
7 PACK A FEW ESSENTIAL MEDICATIONS.
Eating out or on-the-run has been known to sometimes, well, you know, bring on the runs. Thousands of international tradeshow visitors are bound to include the sick and the infectious. Ditto for some foods, or indulging in foods that may not agree with you. Consider packing a few over-the-counter medications, provided you don’t have sensitivities or other reasons not to take them. Essentials can include loperamide, an OTC anti-diarrheal, a senna-containing natural laxative and an acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory oral pain reliever. Skimp on either pain-relief product if you plan to drink. Be sure to always take NSAIDs with food; skip them entirely if you have stomach problems, ulcers or plan to drink the night away. Not sure what’s best for you? Check with your doctor.
8 BE ON FOOT PATROL.
Let’s face it: Your feet are going to take a beating. While especially true for those whose lodging is far from the center of the action, Vegas has a lot of ground to cover. Ladies, ditch the towering heels for a pair of broken-in, soft-soled shoes with good support. A heel lower than 2 inches should provide adequate comfort to cover a full day’s terrain. Better yet, stash an extra pair of ballet flats or a sup-portive sandal in your bag and alternate footwear to give those puppies a break. Use flexible bandages or a no-rub stick to protect problem spots you might have before you head to the tradeshow floor. Nothing spoils a tradeshow faster than a foot blister.
9PRACTICE POWER EATING. No, we don’t mean energy bars and caffeinated buzz drinks. Rather, eat for power and fitness. Choose modest portions of healthier foods lower in salt and saturated fat. Foods loaded with salt will trigger thirst and can throw your system off-kilter. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that people with high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes as well as all African Americans and those 51 years and older keep sodium intake below 1,500 mg per day, or about half a teaspoon. Opt for a variety of potassium-rich foods to help your body rid itself of excess sodium. Bananas, orange juice, melons and other fruits, raisins, tomatoes, avocado, edamame, potato, salmon and yogurt are good low-sodium, high-potassium foods.
Get religious about hand washing. Take every opportunity to thoroughly wash your hands. Lather up with soap and cool-to-warm water and rub all over like a surgeon, including in between fingers, wrists and along fingertips and nails. Afterwards, hands off all handles, doorknobs, armrests or other highly trafficked surfaces. In between hand washes, avoid touching yourself above the neck: mouth, eyes and nose are strictly off limits. That’s where bacteria or viruses gain entry to do their evil calling. If you feel the sniffles coming on before or during the show, keep a supply of tissues or moistened baby wipes on hand. Use them often to grasp or touch surfaces to avoid spreading cooties, er, microbes. If you must cough or sneeze, use your inner elbow to muffle your spray and minimize hand soiling. Wash up afterwards. Better yet, send an alternate and have them report or stay in touch with you by phone.
TRADESHOW SURVIVAL CHECKLIST
WHAT TO PACK
- Extra 1-quart plastic baggie
- Unscented baby wipes
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Emollient facial moisturizer
- Body cream
- Body butter
- SPF 30 sunscreen
- Sun-protection lip balm or stick
- Sterile saline nasal spray
- Sterile moisturizing eye drops
- Bandages (cushioned, flexible fabric, multiple sizes)
- No-rub stick
- Anti-diarrheal tablets
- Senna-based laxative
- Pain reliever
- Prescription medications, plus two-day supply
- List of all prescription medications, dosages
- Your doctor’s name, phone, fax, e-mail (and jewelry preferences, of course)
- Insurance cards