Avoiding illness on casino trips

Avoiding illness on casino trips

Over the years, I've been a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, Reno, and elsewhere. I have managed to avoid illness during or after those trips (over 200) by following a set of basic rules as best I can. They have evolved over the years, as new information became available. I'm happy to share my rules.

In the hotel room:

  1. Remove bedspread. Fold it and put it in a corner. Chances are maids will just leave it there. It's teeming with germs.
  2. Run hot water and wash glasses before using. Or even bring your own. Maids have been filmed using the same gloves for cleaning toilets and glasses.
  3. Clean entire phone with alcohol wipes or even hand sanitizer before use.
  4. Ditto for TV remote, often the dirtiest item in the room. You could alternatively put it in a clear plastic bag and use it without actually touching it.
  5. Keep the room relatively cool. Germs breed more efficiently in warmer environments.
  6. Drink only bottled water. You will have more water there than anything else (hopefully).
  7. No matter what hours you keep, get more, not less, sleep than normal. Take a "power nap" before attacking the graveyard shift.
  8. Bring shower slippers or other footwear that will enable you to avoid walking on the floor or carpet.
  9. Never lie on the carpet; always put towels under you if you're going to exercise, etc.
  10. Don't sit on the chairs or couches with your bare skin. Either be dressed, or put a towel under you.


  1. Drink lots of water, purified if you can get it. If you drink a certain kind normally, get some and keep it in your car/room. The casinos will give you bottled water, usually purified, which is almost always better than the faucet water you get in a "glass of water"--not to mention cleaner than a bar glass.
  2. Supplements: Take your normal supplements, and get a little extra water and sodium into your system. You're in the desert, and need more of both, even in the wintertime. Vitamin C should be taken or increased, along with a multivitamin. Your immune system needs a boost.
  3. Very Important: NEVER eat, or touch your mouth, eyes, or any part of your face unless you have just washed your hands, or wiped them really well with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Shaking hands, grabbing cards, chips, money, escalators, almost everything you do exposes you to potential infection. Doing a "fist bump" is acceptable culture-wide now, and if I'm eating, that's all you're going to get from me. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Chances are people will ask for some. Share it.
  4. Clothing: Layer your clothing, so that you can either have sleeves or not, etc., depending on the casino temperature and outside temperature. This way, you can tough it out if you have favorable conditions in an unfavorable environment. If you're not comfortable, your concentration could suffer. Casino heat is another matter :)
  5. Exercise. There are probably twenty or more 24-hour fitness centers in Vegas now, for instance. If you have a membership, use it. You'll have less fatigue, and be less prone to infection. But taking a brisk walk for as little as 20 minutes a day will help a lot. Want a great, innovative workout? Walk up as many flights of stairs as you can (run if you're in great shape), and walk or even take the elevator back down. Repeat twice (it may be fewer flights). Once you catch your breath, you'll feel like a machine. The buffet, casinos and your SO are all in trouble.
  6. Eating. If you eat well and don't change while at a resort, that's fantastic. However, I think you should be able to eat whatever you like, and have fun. But if you can eat some fruit in the morning, it will do you a lot of good. Even a big glass of pure apple juice will help. Don't mix melons with other foods, they won't digest well at all. But the more the better. If you buffet, have some vegetables, fresh and cooked, on your first plate, or a bowl of soup, and then eat whatever you like. You'll still get full off of that last bite of decadence. And your system won't get so bogged down, which can make you more susceptible to illness.
  7. Alcohol. Let's face it; Some of us are going to drink. But if you have a bottle of water with every drink, your body can process the alcohol without dehydrating you. Your body is used to what you drink at home, so that is your best choice. If you try something new, don't mix a lot of different drinks... that's asking for trouble. Finally, if you drink too much one night, take it a bit easier the next night, and let your body recover.

Doing any part of the above will help. Doing all of the above will virtually ensure that you will not get sick as a result of your trip.

Related article: Healthy Advantage Player

Originally published on Green Chip, edited for this format.


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