Cough or sneeze near someone in the fashion industry, and you might not just get a dirty look: they might treat you as if you have the plague.

As Fashion Week looms around the same time that flu season is in full swing, designers, editors and models alike are deeply paranoid about getting sick. Fashion Week itself is already detrimental to the immune system (early mornings, late nights, sporadic dinners, long hours) but add in one of the most severe flu virus strains we've seen in recent years (it has reached "epidemic" proportions) combined with the worst outbreak of the whooping cough in 60 years and the foreign-born strain of the norovirus that creates extreme stomach flu symptoms, and you've got trouble.

People who work in fashion are in constant physical contact, and during Fashion Week are grouped together in tents and long plane rides. To top it off, at the end of New York's Fashion Week, they ship off to London to do it all again: but this time in a new time zone. Good-bye sleep patterns! So on the eve of Fashion's biggest Autumn/Winter event, this stylish community is doing everything in its power to curb the assault that this week's stresses + various viruses can have on their immune systems.

They are diligently getting flu shots, drinking insane amounts of water and vitamin C, eating lots of vegetables and some swear by vegetable juice. They're avoiding door knobs, sleek surfaces and using Purell obsessively. They quarantine anyone who gets sick, because in some small studios or offices one person's illness can take the whole team down (which is NOT ideal this close to the show!). Many have also said they'll be avoiding after-parties.

It's been said that this year, the fashion world just might not be as "friendly" - you'll see more air kisses and less double-cheek kisses. They won't offend one another, they all understand. FW 2013 is insanely important, and they don't want to miss a minute. Fashion Week is rumored to weed out the weak from the rest of the pack - and in the minds of many, being sick is no excuse. (Though please, if you are - take care of yourself!)

Some good news? Flu season has seemed to peak, so a brighter horizon is in the future! We hope that everyone's preparations to stay healthy during fashion week are successful: no one needs sniffling or woozy models, designers or audience members. We want everyone on full alert (including our team!) to take in all the glory that is Fashion Week in New York City. See you at the catwalk.

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Photo Credit: UK Press