Great - as if we didn't have enough to worry about these days, apparently now it seems as if there is always some burgeoning global pandemic lurking around the next corner. Just what we needed; thanks for that.
Going to Vegas poses unique health risks for a few reasons. First, the sheer number of people from all over the world means you are more likely to be exposed to all manner of illnesses. Second, your touching a lot of stuff that someone else just touched and we're not talking about the usual door handles or sink faucets we're talking about slot machine handles or buttons, cards, gaming chips, and more.
There is no way to ensure you won't get sick while visiting Las Vegas short of not visiting... or perhaps wrapping yourself in plastic. But that would be uncomfortable and not terribly stylish. However, there are a few tricks you can use to reduce the chance that you'll bring home a cold or worse.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands often with warm water and soap is one of the simplest and best defenses against catching someone else's germs. You don't need to be obsessive about it, but when you get up from a gaming table or change slot machines, stop by the bathroom for a quick scrub. And definitely wash your hands thoroughly before eating anything, especially if you have just come from the casino as so many people do.
More Hand Care
Other options for keeping your hands free of germs is to carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes. Again, you don't need to go crazy - no need to wipe down between every hand of blackjack - but if the soap and water isn't easily accessible this makes a good backup plan. If you really want to go to an extreme, you could also wear gloves. Ladies can evoke their inner Audrey Hepburn and there are several stores that sell special "gambler's gloves." They look a little silly but if you're serious about not wanting to get sick they are hard to beat.
Listen for Sniffles
If you're in a casino or a showroom or at a restaurant pay attention to the people around you. If you hear or see someone sniffling or sneezing or coughing, you may want to consider a different blackjack table or another station at the buffet. I once sat next to a woman at a gaming table who kept coughing without covering her mouth and despite my repeated requests to cut it the hell out, I finally had to move. Unfortunately I didn't move soon enough and a couple of days later I was in bed with a cough of my own.
Most major hotels do a good job of sanitizing the bathrooms, which is where the bulk of the nasty stuff that can get you sick lurks. But despite their best efforts, bacteria and viruses can stay behind even after the cleaning crew leaves - note the multiple outbreaks over the years of the norovirus at Strip and Downtown hotels. So, remember those antibacterial wipes I mentioned above? Why not give your faucet handles, toilet seat and handle, light switches, and other similar surfaces a quick wipe before you use them? It only takes a minute and trust me, the maids won't be offended.
Water, Water Everywhere
One thing that a lot of people don't do enough of while in Vegas is drink water. It's easy to get distracted by the general hubbub and the constant on-the-go nature of the town and people don't remember to drink as much water as they should, especially when it gets hot. Worse, I've heard a few of you may have an alcoholic beverage or two while you're in Las Vegas, which only dehydrates you more. Drinking lots of water helps your body's natural defenses and could help you fight off disease.
What Do You Mean Pulling a Slot Handle Isn't Exercise?
I know, I know... the last thing you want to do in Vegas is exercise. You're on vacation! You want to sleep until noon and eat too much at the buffet and order too many free cocktails at the blackjack table and stay up until 5 in the morning partying. I hear you. But here's the deal: getting even a moderate amount of exercise can give your body that boost it needs to stay healthy. Most hotels in Vegas have a gym so go spend 15 minutes on the treadmill or, if you prefer, forgo the cab to that casino up the street and walk instead.