Hydration at Lollapalooza is key as temperatures are expected to soar

With highs in the 80s expected this weekend, one medical expert emphasizes the importance of staying hydrated.

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Lollapalooza staff cool the crowd with water as Gary Clark Jr. performs at Lollapalooza Saturday, August 3, 2019.

Lollapalooza staff cool the crowd with water as Gary Clark Jr. performs in 2019.

Sun-Times file

Lollapalooza is on its way — and so is the heat.

The annual music festival takes place in Grant Park from Thursday through Sunday and high temperatures are forecast to fall between 80 and 86 degrees over the four-day festival.

Those temperatures — paired with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at stages and wide-open fields with little shade — could make for a dangerous situation for festival-goers who aren’t prepared.

Dr. Alison Tothy, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, said the most important thing is staying hydrated.

“That hydration piece is really key,” Tothy said.

Hydration packs, like CamelBaks, are allowed at the festival and don’t need to follow the clear bag policy, but they must be emptied before entering. Empty reusable water bottles are also permitted; all water containers can be filled at hydration stations throughout the grounds.

Drinking water at a crowded festival like Lollapalooza means you’ll probably have to end up in line for the restroom at some point — which can cause some attendees to limit their water intake. But that can quickly lead to dehydration.

Excessive sweating, irritability, nausea and lightheadedness are signs that someone might be experiencing dehydration, according to Tothy.

Anyone experiencing those symptoms should get out of the sun as soon as possible, peel off some layers of clothing and use a wet rag or towel on the back of their neck and wrists, Tothy said.

Lollapalooza doesn’t only attract adults. Kidzapalooza draws younger children, while teens, unaccompanied by an adult, often come to see their favorite artists. So it’s important for parents, guardians or others who arrive with small children to monitor a child’s well-being throughout the day. And teens should also keep an eye out for signs of dehydration in themselves and their friends.

Tothy recommends sun shades and clip-on fans for children still in strollers. Light, breathable clothing is also essential for kids of all ages. If an infant or toddler is acting fussy, it could be a sign they’re experiencing dehydration or heat exhaustion.

As for teens, Tothy emphasized the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol.

“Alcohol is just going to make you more dehydrated — that’s not how you hydrate,” Tothy said.

Lollapalooza has six medical tents on site for people who might need help during the festival and marker signs on light poles throughout the grounds can be used to tell emergency personnel where you’re located if you need to call 911.

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