Clear, sunny skies and alcoholic refreshments contribute to tailgating enjoyment for many fans, but those two things combined can be dangerous— even life-threatening—without proper precautions.
The hot sun can amplify the effects of alcohol, and excessive alcohol consumption is one of the major health concerns he sees on tailgating weekends, says Fred Kam, director of the Auburn University Medical Clinic.
With all the debris scattered about and, again, the potential for alcohol to lower awareness and inhibitions, injuries such as cuts and sprained ankles are also concerns.
Follow these health-related tips to ensure your tailgating experience doesn’t end with a trip to the ER.
- Drink plenty of water while tailgating – about 16 ounces of water every 90 minutes.
- Eat or at least snack while drinking alcohol.
- Wear loose clothing and avoid hats.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible, and use portable fans.
- Use caution during prolonged exposure to a heat index (how hot it “feels” based on temperature and humidity) starting in the low ’80s.
- Seek medical help immediately if you experience severe headache, weakness or dizziness, confusion, flushed dry skin, or a high temperature.
- Treat cuts immediately with soap and water and then apply pressure for at least 10 minutes to stop bleeding. As long as you clean the wound well, you have a few hours to get to a doctor.
- If you twist your ankle, apply ice and stay off the ankle as much as possible.
- Wear closed-toed, flat shoes instead of flip flops and high heels on game day.