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29 messages

Coughs and Sneezes

04 Nov 13 - 05:31 AM (#3572674)
Subject: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Uncle Tone

It's that season again.

Whilst there might be an argument for a paid artist to struggle through their act whilst coughing and sneezing over the audience, is it the done thing to bring a bad cold, or man flu to a singaround or folk club, either as a floor-singer or as audience?

We had one last night who presented himself as a bit of a hero for turning up at all. He had to give up on one of his songs after the first few bars because he couldn't reach the notes.

If I get his cold, I wish he hadn't turned up at all.

On the other hand, I suppose it is inevitable that we'll all get it somewhere at some stage. Supermarkets are probably the worst for spreading cold viruses.

Tone (Immune so far!)

04 Nov 13 - 06:34 AM (#3572684)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: jacqui.c

i think that it is bad form to bring a cold anywhere public, let alone into a roomful of singers. Sometimes, I know, it can't be avoided and then the carrier should be taking precautions to try not to spread the illness, but there would appear to be absolutely no excuse for inflicting it on a social group.

No hero as far as I'm concerned, more a Typhoid Mary. Downright selfish - no-one is that indispensable to the group that they can be pardoned for spreading their germs!

04 Nov 13 - 11:59 AM (#3572752)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Uncle Tone

I agree, Jacqui.

However, a morris dancing colleague of mine who was (is?) a Roche research chemist who was (is still?) investigating common cold viruses reckoned that once we show the symptoms, we are not very contagious as the symptoms we show (coughing and sneezing) are the result of our anti-bodies negating the virus.

Don't know if this is fact.

I prefer to err on the protective side.


04 Nov 13 - 12:08 PM (#3572755)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Becca72

Germs exist everywhere. Best practice is to wash your own hands frequently and touch your face as infrequently as possible.
Sorry, but if everyone stayed home each and every time they had the sniffles the world would stop.

04 Nov 13 - 12:31 PM (#3572762)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Maryrrf

I have a few live recordings where quiet, slow songs or delicate instrumental pieces are marred by the sound of someone coughing in the audience, and I've been at a couple of concerts where I really wished that whoever was coughing, sneezing and blowing their nose had stayed home.

Aside from the risk of infecting others (I don't know when the exact contagious period is, I'll leave that to the scientists) if it's a singaround or folk club evening it's likely distracting to the rest of the audience and the performer to have someone coughing, sneezing, and blowing their nose   

There are some situations where it's unavoidable (if someone can't miss work because they don't have sick leave, for example), but attending a singaround or folk club would appear to be an entirely optional activity.

Also, I can't imagine that somebody in the throes of a bad cold would enjoy themselves very much anyway - better to stay home with a hot toddy.

05 Nov 13 - 10:33 AM (#3573035)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: GUEST,leeneia

I agree with you, canalwheeler. That ill person had no business coming to a social event and spreading microbes. I'm not impressed by the argument that he might not be contagious anymore; there are too many variables.

I rarely get colds. I make it a habit not to touch things that many people touch. For example, I summon elevators by pushing the button with the middle joint of my little finger, a finger we rarely use.

In a restroom, I try to use a paper towel to open the door. A well-designed restroom has a trash bin close enough to the door so that I can open the door while holding the paper towel, hold the door with my foot, then lob the towel into the bin. (This works best in a culture where basketball is part of normal life.) If I can't do that, I use my shirttail to open the door.

Now I have a new habit to work on: digging in my purse for my own pen rather than using community pens.

05 Nov 13 - 03:01 PM (#3573108)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Jim Carroll

Apropos of not much:
It was a common belief here in the West of Ireland that when a person sneezes, their soul leaves their body for a few seconds - Bless you" was recited to protect it while it was exposed.
It was also believed that sneezing three times without being blessed laid you open to being 'taken by the fairies'.
Seamus Ennis used to accompany the reel 'Pinch of Snuff' with the story of the fiddler who went off with the fairies and was placed on the rafters above a house dance.
The fairy took out a box of snuff and sprinkled it on the dancers below, hoping to run off with one of them, an attractive young woman.
She sneezed, and the dancers were so busy they didn't notice and bless her.
The Fairy repeated the action and the same thing happened.
The third time he did it, the fiddler took pity on the girland shouted "Bless you" - hence the title of the reel that was being played at te time 'The Pinch of Snuff'
Not a lot of people know that!!
Jim Carroll

05 Nov 13 - 04:05 PM (#3573124)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Dave the Gnome

Bringing it round to (almost) folklore, who remembers the 'infomercials' stating

'Coughs and Sneezes spread diseases
Wrap them up in your hankerchieveses'

They don't write 'em like that any more

:D tG

05 Nov 13 - 06:18 PM (#3573161)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: The Sandman

If someone PAYS to come to see a performer they have every right to come, regardless of whether they have a cold or flu.
a person has paid to be entertained, the same applies to a cinema goer,or a theatre goer.
is the premises a public house or private property?, if it is a pub then its up to the landlord as to who can remain in the pub.
your audience member probably thought he was helping to swell the numbers by turning up but,why are you asking us?
why not ask your regulars how they feel, if they feel the same way as you let everyone who comes regularly, know that your club has a "NO GERMS POLICY" people with colds and flu are not allowed under any circumstances., you might get increased numbers.

05 Nov 13 - 06:35 PM (#3573164)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Uncle Tone

Well Dick, I give Jim's response far more credence than yours, as elsewhere.

I mean, how can the landlord be responsible for those who come in with a cold? How would he know unless the customer says, "O. Excuse me, but I have a cold. May I still come into your pub?"

And if someone has paid to see a performer, then fair enough, they have an entitlement to their seat, but surely, if they have the flu, they also have a responsibility to the rest of the audience to give the ticket to someone else who is not contagious?

Unless they don't give a damn for anyone else, of course.

Do you?


05 Nov 13 - 07:24 PM (#3573173)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Jack Campin

"Mike Mucus? we've got two of your long-term fans here tonight, No-Nose Nora and Debbie Discharge. They absolutely love your voice and they say would you meet them in their campervan in the carpark after the gig?..."

05 Nov 13 - 08:43 PM (#3573182)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Joe Offer

It's my understanding that we spread cold germs when the cold is "productive" (i.e., coughing and sneezing). Well, I don't have the time to seclude myself every time I have a cold - so I believe in drugs. I guy the generic, cherry-flavored equivalent of Alka Selzer Plus, a big pill that fizzes when dropped in water. Within half an hour, it stops my cough and sneezing for three or four hours. After that, I go home and go to bed.
Oh...and I avoid alcohol when using that sort of medication.


05 Nov 13 - 11:32 PM (#3573212)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: The Sandman

Tony Haynes, It all depends on the circumstances, if my cold was not very bad, and it was a performer who I very rarely got the chance to see, I might turn up,I would probably warn others to keep their distance, I would not turn up to just to sing if I had a cold.
However, why ask us, you should be asking your regulars if you are genuinely concerned, if your club is a small club that has a regular nucleus who turn up every week, discuss it and arrange an informal policy,which everyone is happy about.
if it is a singaround that is not in a seperate room but is open to all including those who have come for a drink but not to listen to music, your question is a waste of time, because you will be unable to stop those who come into the pub with a cold but have not come for the music, because its a PUBLIC HOUSE.

06 Nov 13 - 06:22 AM (#3573278)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Uncle Tone

"However, why ask us...."

Because usually we get some sensible Mudcat answers here.


06 Nov 13 - 07:16 AM (#3573290)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: jacqui.c

Why not check out general opinion? This a topic that has obviously struck a chord with some 'Catters and is a subject that, at one time or another, has probably affected most of us.

My husband has medical issues, which mean that catching a cold can turn into something else, so we try to stay away from those who might be contagious. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but this does not appear to be one of those occasions. As I said before - this, in my opinion, was a selfish act by someone who had little if any thought for the rest of the group.

06 Nov 13 - 09:21 AM (#3573316)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: GUEST,Eliza

As a teacher of many decades, exposed to snotty, sneezy kids almost constantly during the winter months, I'm a firm believer in taking deep breaths of all the germs you can access. Let 'em sneeze, let 'em cough. Get those germs into your lungs. That way, your immune system becomes iron-strong and ready for anything. It's only exposure to germs that stimulates the antibodies to get to work. I honestly truly hardly ever had a single cold while teaching at school. By trying to keep your distance from sneezy folk, and avoiding germs, you're mollycoddling your body and your natural defences will weaken. As for people coughing at public events, I believe this is 'catching'. I had this happen a few times in class. One would start, others join in, until the place sounded like a TB ward. Naughty little things! I found the words "Playtime cancelled...?" effected a miraculous and instantaneous cure. But I can't think of any equivalent for adults at a performance!

06 Nov 13 - 10:29 AM (#3573333)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: GUEST,highlandman at work

How about "beer tent closed"?

06 Nov 13 - 11:05 AM (#3573342)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Uncle Tone

Cue to write a sneezing song with a coughing chorus everyone can join in with.... or has it been done?


06 Nov 13 - 11:39 AM (#3573354)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Jack Campin


The Tuberculosis Song


06 Nov 13 - 11:44 AM (#3573357)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: The Sandman

you are better off getting the opinion of the people, who attend the club regularly, is it a club? or is it just a sing in a pub that does not have a seperate room?.
if it is a club, then get the opinions of regulars attenders before you come to any decision. if it isnt in a seperate room the question has little point because there could be a member of the public who has not come for the music who is infectious anyway.
sensible answers from mudcat members who live miles away or in different countries and who are unable to attend the event are not in my opinion as important as those who regularly attend, it is the people who come regularly who are going to be affected by somebody infectious, not people sitting behind a computer in a different country.

06 Nov 13 - 04:04 PM (#3573417)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: GUEST,Joan the Wad

Touching is the problem.

I recall an experiment a while ago when people with and without colds were put into a room separated by a wire screen.

Almost nobody in the uninfected group got a cold.

Then they did the same experiment without the wire screen and the colds spread to just about everyone.

So if you meet a person with a cold, just keep your distance and don't touch.

06 Nov 13 - 04:34 PM (#3573428)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Steve Shaw

Vin Garbutt did a gig in Bude about 20 years ago throughout which he "moaned" (mostly for comedic effect a la man-flu, it should be said!) about the cold he was just getting over. He came out with the unforgettable line that the people in the front row would soon find out that he was singing not the blues but the greens! Yikes!

06 Nov 13 - 05:31 PM (#3573435)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Jack Campin

Vomit is a lot more infectious than any other bodily fluid. Particularly for norovirus. The precautions that might work for snot won't help at all with puke.

06 Nov 13 - 05:39 PM (#3573438)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Jack Campin

Footnote to that: googling "puking on stage" suggests some performers to avoid.

06 Nov 13 - 08:52 PM (#3573476)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Uncle Tone

I've only known that once in a folk club situation. I won't mention names, but lets just say it was a Scottish singer whom we booked many years ago. This could be a salutary warning.

He'd been on the booze from before the moment he arrived in our fair town by train and had hit the booze again at our club. During the second number of his first half as guest performer he projectile vomited over an unfortunate fan in the front row.

He was unable to continue, but luckily, another of his great fans, and a professional singer in his own right, who had been trying to sober him up, was also a fair performer of his songs. He stepped in and did the gig for him while my long-suffering wife took said artiste home and put him to bed.

In the circumstances the disappointed audience accepted the situation quite magnanimously.

He stayed at our house that night, and managed to soil the bed.

A few weeks later we heard that he had died. Liver failure I believe.

All very, very sad. What a waste.

In his day he was a great, funny performer and a great song-writer. I still sing a couple of his songs to this day.


09 Nov 13 - 05:53 PM (#3574254)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: GUEST,Anniecat

Please keep your germs to yourselves. Use a handkerchief and don't cough and sneeze over other people. Stay at home if you are contagious. My lungs were damaged by diesel pollution years ago and I finally had to give up working in an office when people came to work with chest infections boasting that they were on antibiotics as this resulted in my spending 3 weeks in hospital and 14 weeks on intravenous antibiotics at home. What fun!

09 Nov 13 - 07:30 PM (#3574277)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: kendall

I don't give a rat's ass if it is a public house and the infected one paid to get in, I also paid!
Since the radiation I had, my immune system is not what it was and anyone who come near me with a cold is asking for verbal kick in the ass.

15 Nov 13 - 03:51 PM (#3576018)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: The Sandman

The problem, by the time the symptoms show you've been shedding/spreading virus for days.

15 Nov 13 - 05:20 PM (#3576043)
Subject: RE: Coughs and Sneezes
From: Nigel Parsons

Flies spread disease ...

Please keep yours zipped up :)