Vanderbilt University Medical Center urges CMA Fest attendees to take necessary precautions in heat

With daytime temperatures expected to hover in the high 90s during this year’s four-day CMA Music Fest, Vanderbilt LifeFlight officials are warning visitors to take necessary precautions while in the heat.

Last year more than 400 people were treated at the festival for heat-related illnesses, with 18 of those so ill they required ambulance transports to the hospital. 

LifeFlight Event Medicine, which has provided emergency medical coverage for the festival for the past four years, saw a record number of patients last year. However, they are hoping that with the appropriate precautions, all visitors can safely enjoy this year’s event.

“We are urging visitors to take measures to protect themselves against the extreme heat,” said Jared McKinney, M.D., assistant professor of Emergency Medicine. “We want them to enjoy Nashville and the CMA Music Fest without suffering from heat-related illness.”

McKinney said emergency responders saw hundreds of cases of heat exhaustion last year, which is caused by dehydration and is indicated by headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea and extreme thirst.

"Victims of heat exhaustion should know when to call it quits for the day," McKinney said. "Pace yourself so you can enjoy all that the festival has to offer. If you are feeling light headed or dizzy, please ask for assistance to get to the first aid tent or ask for evaluation from one of our medics.”

McKinney said it is important to get someone who may be suffering from heat exhaustion to a cool place out of direct sunlight, keep them wet with cool water or wet towels, and turn a fan on to help cool the body.

He offered these additional tips to avoid heat exhaustion:

·         Avoid intense outdoor activity from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the hottest part of the day

·         Rest frequently in the shade when outdoors

·         Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing

·         Cover up -- wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen of 15 SPF or greater

·         Drink even if you don't feel thirsty

·         Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine

LifeFlight's Event Medicine will have first aid tents set up at Riverfront Park, the Family Zone and the Sports Zone. More than 20 EMTs, paramedics, RNs and athletic trainers will be available each day during the festival to treat and respond to medical emergencies. Cooling stations will be available at select locations.

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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