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Vanderbilt LifeFlight offers safety tips for CMA Music Festival

Staff Reports • Jun 8, 2017 at 10:34 PM

As Nashville welcomes visitors from around the world to the CMA Music Festival this week, Vanderbilt LifeFlight officials urge to take necessary precautions to avoid illness and injury. 

Patients at the 2016 festival were treated for a variety of issues, including heat-related illnesses, sunburn, alcohol overconsumption, sprains and even blisters from improper foot care.

Heat-related illness is the No. 1 concern of the LifeFlight event medicine team, which has provided the CMA Music Festival emergency medical coverage since 2009 and is the event’s official emergency medical services and medical provider.

“Victims of heat exhaustion should know when to call it quits for the day,” said Dr. Jared McKinney, associate 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.”

Alcohol can intensify the consequences of exposure to the heat and worsen dehydration, which can lead to impaired judgment and lack of recognition of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion. Further, it can interfere 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.

“We want fans to enjoy Nashville and have a great time, but be careful when it comes to alcohol consumption and do it in moderation,” McKinney said.

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 also have long-term ramifications, including skin aging and melanoma.

More than 100 Vanderbilt EMTs, paramedics and registered nurses will work the four-day festival, putting in an anticipated 1,700 total hours. Three LifeFlight ambulances will be onsite for needed patient transports. Last year, Vanderbilt LifeFlight and Metro Nashville EMS made a combined 18 ambulance trips.

“It’s impressive to see such a diverse group of individuals come together in the streets of Nashville, with limited resources and under challenging environmental conditions,  to work as a unified team in the  delivery of the exceptional care that has become synonymous with the Vanderbilt name,” said Leigh Sims, manager of LifeFlight’s event medicine division. 

The Vanderbilt LifeFlight Event Medicine team has been the official medical provider for this event since 2009.

More than 100 Vanderbilt EMTs, paramedics and registered nurses will work the four-day festival, putting in an anticipated 1,700 total hours.

Three LifeFlight ambulances will be onsite for needed patient transports.

LifeFlight’s mobile emergency command and communications bus will also be on the scene as the official communications center.

Rescue 1, LifeFlight’s off-road response vehicle, will also be in operation, and medics will circulate the event on Segways and bicycles.

First-aid tents will be set up at all locations of the CMA Music Festival, with cooling stations available at select locations.

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