Coachella 2019: How to prepare festival-goers for possible health issues

Denise Dador Image
Sunday, April 14, 2019
How to prepare Coachella festival-goers for possible health issues
If you know someone headed to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, make sure you pay attention.

INDIO, Calif. (KABC) -- If you know someone headed to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, make sure you pay attention.

Emergency department physicians say the good times can quickly turn bad if you don't prepare yourself for the challenging conditions.

Veteran festival-goer Christine Yeo knows all too well what to expect.

"There are some years where it does get really dusty," she said.

The public relations executive with the electric scooter company Spin has been to Coachella three times.

This weekend, she's going for work to debut her company's new e-scooters.

She's one of more than 100,000 festival-goers descending on the Palm Springs area. Yeo tells her co-workers to be prepared because the environment can be harsh.

Emergency Department physician Mason Shieh said several of his colleagues at Lakewood Regional Medical Center are in Coachella manning the medical tents.

The dry and dusty conditions can be tough on people with breathing problems.

"Some people, they'll actually put on masks," he said. "It's not pretty, but it's better than having a terrible asthma attack while you're at the concert."

He said doctors see a lot of dizziness, intoxication, heatstroke and asthma exacerbations just from all the dust.

Shieh said a lot of people return home with pretty bad sunburn.

"Bring sunblock," he said. "Don't just apply it once. It has to be reapplied. "

And many festival-goers forget to hydrate.

"They do have filtered-water stations to encourage people to hydrate on a regular basis," he said.

Don't forget your ears. The decibel level is high and constant.

"Additionally, alcohol will also dull your hearing, so you don't realize it's hurting your ears as well," Shieh said.

Besides packing your hat and bandanna, doctors say don't forget to pack your common sense. It's going to be a long weekend so you need to pace yourself.

"This is a marathon if you look at it that way," Shieh said. "All the headliners are coming at the end, so just don't go too hard during the day in terms of staying out for too long."

It's timely advice with the Stagecoach Festival right on Coachella's heels.

Yeo said it also helps to use the buddy system.

"Pair up with your friends so you're not alone," she said.

And if you're going to be riding an electric scooter, make sure to wear a helmet.