Staying healthy on the road...

Maybe it's because I just took a sick day of my own, but I'm hyper-sensitive to the fact that so many musicians get sick on the road. It's a rough cocktail: lots of driving, sleep deprivation, contact with fans that carry all kinds of germs...

As we move into the busy fall touring season, keep these things in mind:

• Try to stay on a regular meal regimen. Eat something every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism consistent. Whole grains in the morning and protein at night will keep you from gaining too much weight on the road, too. It's tempting to stop at Sonic every few miles, but taking an extra step to find some healthier options really pays off -- you'll have more energy on stage and more stamina for the road. • Get a physical and any vaccinations you're not caught up on at least 4-6 weeks before your road trip. You can get health insurance that covers shots and checkups for about $40 a month with a $40 office visit -- there's no excuse to not have it. • Purell is your friend. You may love your fans, but do you know where their hands have been? Avoid touching your face and mouth during a meet-and-greet. • Stock up on a good multi-vitamin, and bring a small bottle of Zicam. You may bristle at the idea of spending ten bucks on an herbal cold remedy, but the stuff really works wonders if you use it at the first sign of the sniffles. (It gobs up the receptors in your nose, so germs can't spread.) • Wash your hands, especially if you visit any farms, petting zoos, or college dorms. • For goodness sake, bring (and use) a condom.

Seriously, with things like the Avian Flu floating out in the world, it's the simple things we can do right now to take care of ourselves that make a difference. Stay healthy this fall, so you can play more gigs!