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Good points by everyone. I've never been a fan of the water jug method. I'm no doctor, but I had a nurse (who also did our band uniforms) tell me that going with bottled water is best. It's a lot more money for the corps (unless they pass that onto the marcher) but the plastic bottles can be recycled, and the marchers drink vastly better water vs. what they put in those jugs from the school tap, etc.

Washing your hands 15 times a day is important when traveling like a drum corps does. We tell our college students to do the same thing when school is in session. Think about what they touch each day. There are kids in college who pick their nose, who don't shower all that often, who don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom, those who drink too much, and these students touch everything the clean students do. Being on tour with a drum corps means being in some dirty schools, riding a bus for 2 months, being around unclean people (although we'd like to think this didn't happen), not always having a chance to clean your clothes, and (as others stated) often being in a complete state of exhaustion.

The exhaustion issue is important. Drum corps often work harder and longer than many of these kids ever will over the course of remainder of their lives. There's no way to simulate this type of physical demand for the first-year marcher, and even veterans can come back to a corps out-of-shape and not ready for the demands. It's why corps like the Blue Devils do not always rehearse long hours. They also rehearse a good bit in the evening, and they are good at finding days to go a few hours and call it a day. Brass players need rest for their chops. The legs need some rest. Much like weight lifting and other types of exercise, you can't do everything each day for the same number of hours.

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If you go into this assuming that corps are not being safe, clean, sanitary this thread is going to head a long way in the wrong direction. Here are 2 things you can take to the bank, from years of t

<sarcasm> Everyone is completely wrong about this and should listen to George Carlin: your immune system needs practice. Let me tell you a story about immunization: when I was a little b

Trust me...I'm a scientist! (and I won't get into the climate change discussion!) 1) The kids don't wash their hands enough. This is most commonly how illness are spread. 2) There needs to be a da

When I marched a bunch of us could not keep anything down for 24 hours. It was not pleasant on a bus that didn't have a lou. Thank God for large buckets.

My Medical Bacteriology professor told a story he'd read about an LA to Honolulu flight where a food preparer didn't cover a cut on his finger that had a purulent staph infection. (If I recall correctly, its rather nasty endotoxin is heat stable.) Apparently, it resulted in long lines for the bathroom while passengers experienced violent vomiting and diarrhea.

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Trust me...I'm a scientist! (and I won't get into the climate change discussion!)

1) The kids don't wash their hands enough. This is most commonly how illness are spread.

2) There needs to be a daily (not weekly) bleaching of the water jugs. Kids drink straight from the spouts of their water jugs, putting the bacteria from their mouths on the spout. Then later, Janey asks Johnny to hand her the water jug. Johnny touches the spout as he hands it over - if it hasn't been bleached in 3 or 4 days, there are a s**t ton of bacteria on there. Combine this with #1, Johnny might get "the bug"

3) lack of sleep lowers resistance. I see the same thing with my college students at finals time. 1+2+3 combined with the perpetual close quarters, and it runs through the whole corps.

One of my kids is in a corps that does not allow water jugs, and as far as I know, there have been no epidemics through the corps. Not really sustainable, but you can't argue if it works!

My son is in his third year with the Cavies and they have never allowed water bottles in his time. He hasn't reported anybody seriously complaining about it - the Med staff ruthlessly imposes regular water breaks w/coolers & dispo cups. It hasn't prevented everything but the corps seems to think it's prevented enough. Apparently it IS sustainable.

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When it rains, buses turn into a breeding ground of ick. Combine that with everyone being generally worn out all summer, their immune system is probably pretty weak. Gotta bleach out the water coolers every couple weeks too.

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Do corps members have access to hand sanitizer and/or wipes on the bus? With all the stuff that is everywhere on the bus, sounds like a thorough wiping down every few days would be a good idea, and not terribly expensive.

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Washing or not washing your hands sometimes has nothing to do with it.

The lack of knowledge of the cooking crews sometimes can be astoundingly simple.

Cooking food up to 140 or above is important and most people know this but the COOLING DOWN part is a total mystery to most of them.

DO NOT cover plates while they cool. What this does is trap the temperatures at a dangerous level which is perfect for bacteria.

I think perhaps I should inquire about starting a foodservice sanitation hotline sponsored by DCi. I would be happy to answer questions 24 hours a day if I got paid a nominal amount.

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Do corps members have access to hand sanitizer and/or wipes on the bus? With all the stuff that is everywhere on the bus, sounds like a thorough wiping down every few days would be a good idea, and not terribly expensive.

They do at BK.

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I read a couple of things about the lack of sleep marchers get, and how that can compromise an immune system. Not to mention the stress and physical demands.

I think they get enough to eat and drink. Just too much work and not enough rest for the work they do.

I think that makes a lot of sense. They don't get enough sleep. As far as my experience and observation has told me.

When you sleep for 5 hours on a bus, and then have to get up, drag your stuff into the next school, set your stuff up, then sleep another 3 hours, that does NOT = 8 hours of sleep.

I can go on about the REM sleep and how you need so many cycles of REM, but I don't feel like researching the exacts.

Suffice to say, I don't think they get enough sleep, and those buses get nasty. They should probably get cleaned and disinfected regularly, and I don't know if this is done by any corps, to my knowledge.

I have heard of one corps that does let their members sleep in a little bit later, and they get a couple more than 1 day off (for laundry) every 2-3 weeks. I have heard the "work smarter, not harder" motto. I don't remember which corps, but I think it is a top tier corps. It may go to prove that the staff doesn't really absolutely NEED to push the members to the brink of physical/mental exhaustion just for the sake of maybe getting an extra half point on their score that night. And scores are relative and arbitrary anyway.

Perhaps the DCI Board should start talking about possibly placing some minor rules and restrictions in place on how far staffs can push it?

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Washing or not washing your hands sometimes has nothing to do with it.

The lack of knowledge of the cooking crews sometimes can be astoundingly simple.

Cooking food up to 140 or above is important and most people know this but the COOLING DOWN part is a total mystery to most of them.

DO NOT cover plates while they cool. What this does is trap the temperatures at a dangerous level which is perfect for bacteria.

I think perhaps I should inquire about starting a foodservice sanitation hotline sponsored by DCi. I would be happy to answer questions 24 hours a day if I got paid a nominal amount.

I cooked for Phantom Regiment for 15 years and was a certified food handler. At that time we followed the state of Illinois guidelines. We had drink tanks and throw away cups. They had to be cleaned with bleach once a week.. Bleach water was the cleanig agent we used. I. Cleanliness was next to godliness on the food truck. At that time it was suggested that cooks be trained in food handling but it never went anywhere. This is something DCI should promote as I know what happens when people are not properly trained.

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