Carl Johnson sat quietly in a chair, trying not to fidget.
He was having his blood pressure checked as his head throbbed from a headache and his face ached from congestion.
He had stopped by the first-aid station at the Stock Show to see whether the medical staff could help.
Within minutes, he walked out smiling after taking Advil given to him by nurse Theresa Harbour.
“I’m trying to not get sick,” said Johnson, a 41-year-old working with the barn crew.
He constantly washes his hands and uses hand sanitizer from the many containers spread throughout the Will Rogers Memorial Center, which will see hundreds of thousands of people over the show’s 23-day run.
“Hopefully, it will keep me healthy,” he said. “It got me this far.”
Johnson is among more than 350 people who have ducked into the closet-size first-aid station under the balcony of Section K in the coliseum, which is generally open from 9 a.m. through the last rodeo performance.
They have sought relief from a variety of ailments.
“It has been a quiet Stock Show so far,” said Harbour, one of about a dozen nurses and doctors who rotate shifts.
They treat spectators, vendors, and carnival and midway workers, basically everyone except cowboys and cowgirls injured during rodeos.
At the station, with an examination table, a few chairs and a couple of cabinets full of medicine, doctors and nurses generally give out over-the-counter medicine, bandages and the like. They’ll wrap sprained ankles and try to help settle everything from allergies to stomachaches.
And with the show entering its final week, Harbour knows what’s coming: the Stock Show crud, a generally awful feeling that isn’t flu-based but is more a combination of ailments.
“It will start to increase now,” she said.
As the show winds down, those who work there daily are wearing down and becoming more susceptible to illness.
Robert Herod of Alvarado, who waited Friday to see Harbour, was one of the latest to succumb to the crud.
Herod, 59, a horse show superintendent, typically prepares for the Stock Show by taking a round of antibiotics, trying to bolster his immune system for the many cold and wet days.
He wasn’t able to do that this year, and 15 days into the show, Herod said, he was coughing and sneezing and seemed to have a growing amount of congestion.
“There’s so much stuff in the air,” he said. “And they always keep the ground wet to keep the dust down, so it’s cold and wet.
“This is your typical crud, but it’s double what normal people deal with,” he said. “The only time it gets this bad is during the Stock Show.”