So what do you do? How do you prevent tragedy and keep you and your friends safe?
The first line of defense is prevention. Limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol, as both substances accelerate dehydration. Dress comfortably, ideally in light, loose clothing. Take breaks—you’re not a machine, and it’s a good idea to give yourself a chance to recover and cool down every now and then.
Finally, remember to drink around 500mL of water every hour, as recommended by the harm reduction experts at Dancesafe. Remember not to drink too much though; excessive water consumption can upset your electrolyte balance and swell your cells, resulting in hyponatremia, the symptoms of which are remarkably similar to heatstroke.
Sometimes though, preventative measures simply aren’t enough, and disaster strikes. If you or someone you are around appears to be suffering from heatstroke, immediately begin trying to lower the body temperature of the afflicted. Remove clothing, spray them with water, apply ice packs, whatever. Medical attention should also be sought immediately, as complications can result even after symptoms subside.
At most local festivals, USC’s Conscious Crew is there to help and is an incredibly valuable resource for the community. If you need their assistance, take advantage of their presence; it could very well save a life. Stay informed, stay hydrated, and stay cool. Don’t let you, your friends, or anyone at one of these events become a victim, and in Washington state, you’re legally protected from many potential legal consequences because of the ‘Good Samaritan’ laws in place. You have the power to make a difference.
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