Get Your Flu Shot!

The ‘flu vaccine is a controversial thing. We’re going to side-step the controversy by repeating the baseline truth: even if the vaccine isn’t perfect, it will AT LEAST reduce the duration and severity of symptoms if you somehow catch the influenza virus.

Get Your Flu Shot!

Last year I watched two of my relatives (both of them medical professionals) waive off the vaccine because they’d heard it wasn’t that effective. Both of them were completely laid flat with the ‘flu. For THREE weeks, neither could work. I’ll spare you the gory details. They both then rescinded and openly wished they had gotten the vaccine. Please learn from their example. Get your vaccine early.

The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status. They also suggest you get vaccinated by the end of October, in preparation for ‘flu season.

UsagiMed recommends getting vaccinated at least two weeks before your favorite fall con. This gives your body plenty of time to build up antibodies and overall immunity before you risk catching any sort of con-crud.

Influenza can be deadly. Even if you’re relatively healthy, you don’t want to share the ‘flu with someone who is medically frail like a child, or a cancer patient. Please join us in spreading the word: Get your flu shot!

Radio Etiquette

This post is for all our convention-organizer friends who have to use any kind of two-way radio during their con. And you’re right, most of this seems obvious. But we’ve seen things, man! There are a lot of people who work a convention just to grab a radio and enjoy some kind of rush throughout the weekend. Many of them don’t know what they’re doing. Or they abuse the privilege. Usagi Medical Group works hand-in-glove with both convention staff and licensed first-responders who may be on scene. Proper radio etiquette helps us avoid delays and mistakes. We hope your personnel will find these guidelines useful in avoiding unnecessary frustrations in times of an emergency.

Get Prepared

Know how to use the radio. Know what the PTT (Push To Talk) button does. Know how to not trigger it by accident. Hold the button down firmly when talking, and be sure to LET IT GO when you are done. When you have the PTT button pressed, no one else can speak or be heard. You might be blocking someone on your frequency with an emergency message. You’ll drain your radio battery faster, too! Let. It. Go.

(BTW, remember to talk across the microphone, and not directly into it.)

Identify Yourself and Your Recipient

Know in advance what you are going to say. Take a moment to get collected and maybe even mentally rehearse your message. Decide who the intended recipient of the message is. Start your transmission with your name, followed by your department, and follow that with the name of the intended receiving department. “This is Holly with Main Events to UsagiMed.” There’s no point doing much more than identifying yourself and the recipient at this point. When the recipient acknowledges you, you can transmit the rest of your message.  

Short, Clear, Concise

As a general rule, if your message is longer than 20 seconds, use your phone instead. It’s best to keep your transmissions short, clear, and to the point. This gives other users an opportunity to acknowledge your message or request further clarification before you carry on with your next point.  

Be Patient

LISTEN for a response. The other person may not be able to respond immediately–be patient and give them time to reply before re-sending your call.

Acknowledging The Message

UMG first responders fill a necessary gap for conventions and event planners.

Radio users sometimes repeat a message to make it clear that they’ve heard and understood the information. For example:

Public Safety: “Jared with Public Safety to UsagiMed. Assistance required at Western Ballroom.”

UsagiMed: “This is UsagiMed confirming assistance required at Western Ballroom. We’re on our way.”

These Useful Guidelines

Please refer to these handy guidelines. (Only one page long, it’s suitable for downloading, printing, and distributing to your staff.) Remember, everyone is listening.

(It’s a handy one-pager.)

Dealing with Con Crud

Atchooo!

So, it finally happened. You attended your favorite show, and despite your best efforts to stay well, you’ve become a member of the infected horde. Con Crud is a convergence of diseases from all around the world, all attempting to trounce your immune system via the promise of having a fun time at a convention. It was bound to happen sooner or later. If you get sick during a con, come see UsagiMed! We’ve got lots of stuff that can help you feel better and keep the con dream alive. But sometimes, maybe it’s just better to cut your losses and go home before you make someone else sick. And sometimes, symptoms don’t even show up until after you’ve made it home.

So what do you do now? How do you get back to that happy place you were in during the convention, where the sun was shining, and you could sing along with Totoro without coughing up a lung? Here are a few tips:

1. Take care of your self at home

Mmmm. Ramen.

Do you have the sniffles, a light cough, a headache? Mild symptoms can be taken care of at home. Catch up on the sleep you missed during that 24 hour Doctor Who marathon. Eat some nutritious food. REAL food, not just Red-Bull and Pocky. Drink a lot of water! Consider taking some over-the-counter medicines if they’ll help you relax and rest better. (Follow the directions on the package.) Take it easy for a while, and hopefully you’ll be feeling better in no time.

2. Head to your regular doctor or urgent care

If you’ve got a sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills and general weakness, it might be time to head to a doctor’s office or urgent care. There are some tests and treatments that can only be done in the first day or two of the flu, so identifying the difference between a cold and something more serious can be important. Your doctor may prescribe you some special medicine to help you feel better faster. The other suggestions above still apply though. Rest up, so your body has the energy it needs to fight off the invaders.

3. If necessary, escalate to the ER

It’s rare, but in some cases people can get really sick from an exposure at a convention. If your symptoms are severe, head to the Emergency Room. If you can’t make it there on your own, call 911 or your local emergency number for help.

4. Don’t share!

After you do everything you can to help yourself get healthy, the second best thing you can do is NOT give the crud to anyone else. Depending on your bugs, you can be contagious for up to a week after you get sick. Follow the CDC’s guidelines to help fight the spread of the crud. Some people are especially vulnerable to disease, especially children, cancer patients, and the elderly. Staying home when you’re sick helps curb germs in the community. Staying home when you’re sick may save someone’s life. You can be sure we will always say THANK YOU when you choose to keep your crud at home. UsagiMed will be ready to continue the party with you next year.

5. Keep it from happening again

Nobody wants to get sick. Certainly nobody wants to get sick twice. So before you head off to your next con, be sure to check out our tips for how to stay healthy.

Heading to MTAC Lunar

We’re heading back to Nashville, Tennessee for the 2019 Middle Tennessee Anime Convention (MTAC)! We will be on-site providing our Walk-In Clinic and Emergency Medical Response services.  

As you’re getting ready for MTAC, remember to break in your shoes. Blisters suck. Remember the 5-2-1 Rule. (Especially the 1 part.) And remember to STAY HYDRATED. We want to see you, and we want to see you having as much fun as possible.

We’re looking forward to seeing some old friends and making new ones while we’re there. Stop by to say hi and get a cool sticker!

Oh yeah! I’m sure you don’t need the reminder to bring your meds. And if you’re sick, consider protecting others. See you soon!

Crew Bio: Theja Lanka

I started working with the group that would become UsagiMed at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2013. At the time, I had just started medical school and was looking for like-minded people in the area. I saw AWA had a medical department so I jumped on the chance to get some experience and get a behind-the-scenes look at conventions. The crew was gracious enough to accept me as one of them. They have certainly seen me grow over the years from someone who was too reserved to practicing triangle bandages to becoming more confident in my decision making.

I got into anime sometime around the middle of high school when a girl in my class was retelling Rurouni Kenshin. I was completely entranced by the story. Having only watched Indian movies up to that point, it was great to see something without a forced love story. And then I awakened my powers of time dilation and immediately consumed more anime than should have been possible.

My favorite part of UsagiMed has to be eating food together in the mornings, and after the Saturday night dance when everyone is too tired.

Crew Bio: Jazmine H.

My name is Jazmine, but you can call me Jazz like the music. I’m a licensed EMT. I serve with Usagi Medical Group. I’ve been in the medical field for six years and I’m a licensed Aerospace Medical Technician with the United States Air Force. I am also a trained Cardiac Monitor Technician with Gwinnett Medical Center, and I’m a Nursing student at Georgia State University. My favorites animes are currently My Hero Academia and Food Wars, but my all time favorites include [anything] Studio Ghibli and Yuyu Hakusho. I prefer to watch shonen and slice of life anime and I’m not much of a manga reader. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the other medical professionals in UsagiMed since 2014. My favorite part of working with UsagiMed: I get to work with super smart, super geeky people like myself, and help all the con-goers enjoy the con every year. My favorite part of Anime Weekend Atlanta is the smaller con feeling you get with a big con experience. I love cosplay watching and going to the cool events we have planned every year.

Become A Part of UsagiMed

Friends, we are always on the lookout for medically skilled folks to join us as volunteers. If you or someone you know wants to be a part of what we do, please fill out the form linked here. Thank you! We hope to be working with you, soon.

We love our patients! And your patients will love your con for bringing us to the table.

A Quick Reminder

UsagiMed’s own Cody Steavens writes:

Greetings! We’re only a few days into the new year, and after the unfortunate events at Anime LA, UsagiMed would like to remind everyone in the convention community to be proactively safe and confident while you’re at con.

You can always count on UsagiMed to provide a safe place for con-goers at every convention we staff. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable around someone, not feeling safe, need a quite place for a minute, trust your instincts, and let us help you. UMG makes every effort to provide a safe convention place for everyone. We work closely with venue security and convention staff to keep folks safe, happy, and comfortable.

A quick reminder about this old blog we wrote some time ago. Keep your eyes peeled here for more useful information about keeping your experience safe and stellar.

See You In 2019!!

This blog entry was authored by UsagiMed’s Joshua Law:

Hello to all of you out there in Con-Land! (Does that sound like the world’s most awesome amusement park, or what?) We at Usagi Medical would like to take a moment and talk about getting ready for the New Year.  There are a lot of resolutions about to be made.  Some will be kept. Others… well, we won’t point names, or name fingers…

But if your resolution is to be a part of a con, we would like for you to be safe about doing so.  Here are a few tips for people who want to add more cons to their list, or even go to a con for the first time, in 2019:

Get your shoes early.

Having shoes that are well broken in is a thing your feet and legs will thank you for at con.  Blisters can ruin a con experience, and we have had to help a lot of people, fans and family of fans alike, who would have had a much less painful time if they had just bought their shoes a month or two earlier, and taken the time to break them in before walking 2-3 miles a day at a convention.

Make sure your medications are ready and coming with you.

In all the excitement before a con, it is easy to forget to refill a prescription, or pick up that OTC allergy medication that you take daily.  If you are at a con, especially if you had to cross state lines to get to it, then getting a refill, or finding that brand you like can be tough.  Remove this headache entirely, by making sure 2-3 weeks before the con that you have all pharmaceutical needs covered.

Communication & Safety.

Know who you are going with, and know who you’re staying with. Check in periodically with someone who is not attending the con.  All of this is for your safety.

Budgeting.

It is important to know how much you can spend getting to the con, at the con, and with friends away from the con.  It’s not fun, even for math nerds, but it is important.

And finally,

Food.

If you have special dietary requirements, make sure you plan accordingly as you are getting ready for the con.  Learn what restaurants in the area have food that you can eat, and which have food you cannot.  If you need to bring food with you, make sure you have a way of keeping it fresh and safe to eat until 2-3 days after the convention.

We hope to see you at many cons, please come by and give us a wave as you enjoy the fandom.

In the meantime, we hope you and yours are looking forward to a 2019. Happy Holidays! See you soon!