NASHVILLE—As Nashville welcomes visitors from around the world to CMA Fest, officials are urging fans to take necessary precautions to avoid illness and injury due to surging temperatures. Day one of the annual music festival saw 520 patients treated for symptoms ranging from heat-related illnesses, sunburn, alcohol overconsumption and blisters from improper foot care.
Sunshine and 90+ degree days are expected for each day of the festival. Heat-related illness is the number one concern of the LifeFlight Event Medicine team, which has provided CMA Fest emergency medical coverage since 2009 and is the event’s official EMS and medical provider.
“Festival attendees should be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion,” said Jared McKinney, M.D., assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and medical director for the Event Medicine division of LifeFlight. “If you are feeling light-headed or dizzy, or experience headache, nausea, vomiting or other concerning symptoms, please ask for assistance to get to the first aid tent or ask for evaluation from one of our medics.”
CMA Fest offers a number of measures to help festival-goers stay hydrated. Forty misting fans exist throughout the festival’s footprint, in addition to free water stations at official festival stages located at Ascend Park, on Broadway, at Riverfront Park and Walk of Fame Park. CMA Fest has also added numerous additional $1 water locations.
Alcohol can intensify the consequences of exposure to the heat and worsen dehydration, interfering with the body’s ability to sweat, which is a natural cooling mechanism.
The first step toward treating heat-related illness is to cool the body and infuse appropriate fluids for re-hydration, which means alcohol should not be consumed in lieu of water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks. As a preventive measure, people should drink water even if they don’t feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are often already dehydrated.
The Event Medicine team also treats numerous patients at the festival each year for foot blisters due to improper footwear. Of additional concern is sunburn, which can not only curb short-term fun but have long-term ramifications, including skin aging and melanoma.
CMA Fest will continue to message heat safety tips to fans through the CMA Fest app and at official stages throughout the remainder of the festival.