Spring is here and the SXSW festival is upon us. The annual Austin event encompasses everything from music to film to interactive. Following are some tips from Scott & White Hospital – Round Rock Emergency Room Medical Director Ross Tobleman, MD on how to stay safe and enjoy the fun and festivities.
Crowds and public safety: Enjoy yourself, but be aware of what’s happening around you. If you see people getting rowdy or acting aberrantly, move away and consider notifying the police. Use a cab or a friend, and have a plan ahead of time.
Weather: Read the weather report to know what type of clothing to take, and layer up in case you’re uncertain. Stay well hydrated if it’s hot (drink beverages such as water, juice or low-sugar Gatorade and avoid power drinks or drinks with caffeine).
Self-care: If you’re staying up late or dining out, ensure you’re getting rest and minimizing other commitments. Sleep deprivation stresses your body and immune system. This can lead to illnesses such as upper respiratory infections and bronchitis. Limit activities outside of the fun events, engage in light exercise, and get in all your fruits and veggies.
Traffic: There will be a lot more people on the roads in the Austin area. Plan ahead, give yourself more time to get to your destination. Rushing can lead to stress and negligence, which can lead to accidents. Yield to stressed drivers and don’t battle it out on the road. If you’re riding a bike, wear a helmet and use roads with less traffic.
Skin Protection: The sun in Central Texas this time of year is strong enough to burn even the most casual concert goer. Here are some tips from Scott & White – Round Rock Clinic plastic surgeon Susan Pike, MD, to help keep you going back day after day during SXSW:
- Use sun-protective clothing.
- Choose clothes with long sleeves and consider pants or jeans.
- A hat is a must.
- Wear a sunscreen with SPF of 30 or greater; reapply every 2-3 hours.
- Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you, seek shade.
Hearing Safety: Hearing loss from noise exposure is preventable. Damaging levels of noise are invisible as is the resulting hearing loss. The damage is internal, cumulative and lasts a lifetime. To prevent hearing loss at local venues that are playing loud music consider earplugs with a noise reduction ratio (NRR) of 25 or greater.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that exposure time to sounds of 85 dBA SPL be limited to 8 hours to prevent hearing loss and for every 3 dB increase in the level of noise (doubling of sound), the exposure time should be cut in half.