Jazz Fest Health Tips


Jazz Fest can be a wonderful experience – enjoying nice weather, eating great food and taking in stellar live music. But a day at Jazz Fest also poses some challenges for your health and safety. You’ve seen that person before: passed-out in a corner of the Fairgrounds, beet red, mumbling incoherently, missing a flip-flop. Nobody wants to be that person, especially in the age of ubiquitous mobile technology, where all of your friends will see your photo on Facebook before you even wake up. Here are some tips to help ensure that you’ll have fun at Jazz Fest and avoid social media embarrassment:

  • Hydrate! You are going to be walking, dancing, and standing in the Louisiana sun. You are going to sweat. All that perspiration is essentially water leaving your body, and it needs to be replaced. Miller Lite doesn’t count. Work some water into your beverage schedule to avoid dehydration.
  • Apply (and re-apply) sun-block. In the long run, over-exposure to the sun will give you skin cancer. In the short-term, you will get a wicked sunburn with the associated pain, redness, peeling skin and weird “tan” lines. Slather on some sun-block every few hours to avoid later suffering. You may also want to bring a stylish parasol or umbrella to shield yourself from the sun’s harsh rays.
  • Pace yourself. New Orleans parties are big parties. The only way to be able to enjoy them from start to finish is to pace yourself. Be aware of how you are feeling physically, and take breaks when you need them. Rest your aching feet in the Gospel Tent or grab a spot of grass near the back of the crowd to take a load off.
  • Drink responsibly. By all means have a drink or two (or more; this is New Orleans – I know you people have a high alcohol tolerance). Drink enough to have fun, but not so much that you become disoriented, belligerent or unconscious. Know your limits; respect your limits. And for the love of the music festival gods, don’t drink and drive!
  • Eat…but not too much. Some people go to Jazz Fest more for the food than the music. Even if your main objective isn’t to scarf down the delicious fare, eat something to keep your energy levels up. And I know it’s hard, but try not to overdo it with the food, either. You’ll have all day to nibble, so try to space out your Crawfish Monica, alligator sausage and Mango Freeze.
  • Pack hand sanitizer. At some point (probably during a visit to the portalets), you’re going to touch something full of germs. A short time later, you will find yourself wanting to use your hands to eat something. Douse your hands in sanitizer to avoid cross-contamination and the resulting digestive distress.
  • Bring Earplugs. What?! If you like to be at the front of the crowd, close to the stage and speakers, it’s a good idea to pop in a pair of earplugs. You’ll find you can hear the music just as well with no annoying ringing in your ears that lasts for hours, days or the rest of your life.

If you have any other tips you’d like to share with our readers before heading to the Fairgrounds, please leave them in the comments. Happy Jazz Fest!

Daniele Farrisi

Daniele Farrisi, MPH, our Public Health columnist, works at a local non-profit organization trying to make a difference in the health and well-being of her fellow Louisianans. She spent 6 years working at an HIV clinic and has a wicked streak of humor running through her to show for it. INFECTIOUS SELECTIONS are the bits of wit and wisdom she’s acquired over the years in the trenches of the clinic, church health fairs and various state prisons. Here, she shares informative (and sometimes obscure) health information, and her stories from work.

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And don't let your kid go barefoot into a portalet...still scarred from seeing that.

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