This weekend, an estimated 250,000 music-loving partygoers will be invading the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California for the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Amidst the amazing performances, celebrity sightings, flashing lights, and hordes of eager festival patrons, it’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming awesomeness of the scene. So how can you take care of yourself so that you don’t pass out early and miss that awesome Calvin Harris set? Just follow these simple steps from your friendly party-loving physician:
1) DRINK A BOTTLE OF WATER FOR EVERY ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE- Ok, yes, this is a no-brainer, but it’s truly the key to surviving this party marathon. Alcohol is metabolized in the body by the liver but the liver can only metabolize a certain amount of alcohol per hour, regardless of the amount consumed. So, if you choose to drink, chase every alcoholic beverage with a bottle of water. You’ll dilute the alcohol in your system and delay the time before your next drink. And if you can, wait until dusk to drink- less heat, less dehydration!
2) AVOID COFFEE, COLAS, AND OTHER SUGARY, CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES- These drinks increase your urination rate and will make you dehydrate faster. So… water, anyone?
3) DRESS TO IMPRESS… AND STAY COOL? Remember Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park?He dressed in all black thinking somehow that absorbing all light would cool him off. WRONG. Lighter colors reflect heat and bounce it right off you and back into the atmosphere, effectively diverting heat from your body. Hats provide great protection, too, but if you don’t have one a bandana makes for a good cover in a hurry. Oh, and when that white tank top you’re dancing in gets wet from sweat, water, or some other fluid, (I won’t ask from what), change it- damp clothing can weigh you down and trap heat in your body.
4) CHAPPED FROM WALKING AND DANCING ALL WEEKEND? Baby powder can be a very powerful ally.
5) TAKE DIARRHEA SERIOUSLY- So you ate a bad burrito from that questionable food stand, or one of your neighbors’ “magic brownies” had something funky in it. Regardless, you start spewing out pure liquid from the other end. Disgusting, yes, but more than that uncontrolled diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration that may require medical attention, (in fact, diarrheal illnesses are one of the top causes of death in developing countries). So if this happens, start drinking as much Gatorade as humanly possible, (the electrolytes will help with the hydration, more so than water), and take an anti-diarrheal medicine such as Imodium. If the diarrhea persists, visit one of the first aid booths for appropriate medical care.
6) SUNBLOCK IS YOUR FRIEND
7) MAKE YOUR TENT EASY TO FIND- If you’re camping the weekend out there, be sure you can find your way back to your tent after a whole day of partying. A brightly colored flag is a good start, but to help at night consider a small LED lawn light to plop down in front of your tent, (they’re at Walmart for like 10 bucks).
8) DID I MENTION WATER? YEAH, DRINK MORE OF THAT.
So go off on your little adventure, my Coachella warriors. And if something happens and you start to see multicolored elves on stage fist-pumping to Glitch Mob, don’t worry- that’s just the acid. Have a cookie and you’ll be fine.
David Law is a board-certified physician who practices in southern California and is Rabbits Black’s official medical correspondent… a title he gave himself literally like 5 minutes ago. He also enjoys dancing.