Self-Care on the Road



These were just a couple of variations of hashtags that propagated through the chat channels shared by Red Hat associates and upstream community members during the course of the and FOSDEM events, as a flu-like infection went off like a bomb among our friends. 

These bouts of illness, beyond making our friends miserable, moderately impacted our team’s effectiveness, as events went unattended and some minor tasks went uncompleted. While it is impossible to prevent all illnesses in such close proximity, I there are steps we can all take to help mitigate the impact of ill community members when traveling.

Data is Chicken Soup for the Soul

Use your ICE feature. Most smartphones have an “in case of emergency” feature that enables medical professionals to unlock your phone and view vital contact and medical information. It is recommended your community has a policy where all travelers make sure their ICE has an updated set of information, including:

  • Medical information (blood type, allergies, current medications)
  • Personal contact information
  • Local contact information

Buddy up. In case of accident or illness, it’s a good idea that community members  have at least one person on the same trip who knows where they are staying and a basic overview of their general schedule.

This does not mean being joined at the hip, but if someone hasn’t been seen or heard from in a while, team members should know who to ask in case ($Deity forbid) an accident or serious illness has befallen someone on the trip. This buddy should also be the primary contact for the downed community member to give instructions to regarding outstanding tasks/assignments.

Contain and isolate. This sounds mean, but if someone is sick, they should not try to “stick it out” and do their jobs at an event. Tell people what is happening, and get clear. Make a pillow fort against misery, order room service, and rest. There are two reasons for this: you need to rest and let’s face it, you don’t need to make others sick, too. Get your backup plan/buddy system activated, and go rest.

Be prepared. Red Hat has a lot of very good travel-oriented resources, and, if you are traveling on behalf of your organization, they do, too. Make an effort to find out what resources are available for you, and make use of all of them.

Being sick is never fun, and being sick away from home is the worst. Plan ahead so you can take care of yourself if the need arises.

Photo courtesy of Karen Arnold, under CC0 Public Domain license.

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About Brian Proffitt

Brian is a Senior Principal Community Architect for the Red Hat Open Source Program Office, responsible for community content, onboarding, and open source consulting. Brian also serves on the governing board for Project CHAOSS, a metrics-oriented approach to ascertaining community health. A former technology journalist, Brian is also a graduate lecturer at the University of Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @TheTechScribe.

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