Headed to a festival or outdoor event soon? Here is what you should know

Three friends sitting in a field overlooking an outdoor festival.

With the weather warming up in Houston and across the country, you might have plans to head to a festival or other outdoor event to try new food, listen to music or enjoy a relaxing day in the sun. Before you head out the door, a few Baylor College of Medicine physicians share general tips on what you should know before you go.


You will likely spend most of your time on your feet at an outdoor event, so it’s best to wear proper footwear.

“Wearing the proper footwear can make or break your experience. Leave the uncomfortable shoes at home to avoid blisters and foot pain,” said Dr. Mike Ren, primary care physician and associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. “This goes double for those with preexisting joint aches in their feet, legs or hips.”

If you plan to wear open-toe shoes, be aware that there will be trash on the ground, leading to a variety of potential problems.

“You could get splinters on your feet or step on glass. Or you could step on an object that can injure your foot. I suggest a closed-toe shoe versus an open-toe shoe,” said Dr. Ronald Lepow, podiatrist and assistant professor in the Joseph Barnhart Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

If going the closed-toe route, Lepow suggests wearing tennis shoes or sneakers rather than leather shoes.

“A leather shoe can be hotter and is more likely to constrict the foot. Tennis shoes or sneakers not made of leather will give you more room for your feet to expand throughout the day,” he said.

He also recommends wearing socks with a good wicking factor (polyester, nylon, etc.) or with merino wool (best for absorption) instead of the usual white cotton socks.

“People have always tended to wear [white cotton socks], but that’s not necessarily the right way to go. After standing up for long periods of time or walking around, your feet will perspire, and you don’t want to be walking around in wet socks,” he said.


Hydrating with water at outdoor events and festivals is essential. Ren explains that hydrating properly before and after your time in the sun can help prevent dehydration, which is common at events like these.

“A good rule of thumb is to drink water regularly throughout the day, aiming for 12 or more cups; when in the heat, drink one cup (eight ounces) of water roughly every 20 minutes.”

Also, while outside, limit – or better yet, avoid –alcohol and other sugary drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration.

“Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production and can lead to fluid loss. Sugary drinks, on the other hand, can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, further exacerbating dehydration,” said Ren. “Prioritizing water consumption is crucial for maintaining proper hydration levels. If you want to add a little flavor, low or zero-sugar electrolyte powders and supplements can be a good alternative.”

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Increased urine output


To prepare for the allergens you will be exposed to outdoors, allergy sufferers should take their medication before the event, bring it with them and bring any necessary supplies like antihistamines or an inhaler.

Dr. David Corry, a pulmonologist and immunologist, explains that your medication will act as prophylaxis against exposure to pollen, mold spores, dust, smoke and other fumes you might encounter. He also suggests bringing facemasks to prevent inhaling offending particulates.

“N95 or equivalent masks are highly recommended for those with severe environmental allergies where exposure to triggering agents is reasonably likely at an outdoor event.  Scarves, wet towels and covering your mouth with your hands can provide some protection against inhaled allergens, but they are no substitute for an N95 mask,” said Corry, professor and vice chair of immunology in the Department of Pathology and Immunology.

Also, try to avoid things at these events that are known to cause you issues, such as barbeque smoke, certain trees, grasses or other plants.

“Consider wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from airborne allergens. Avoid touching pollen, bring a blanket to sit on, etc. Avoid scratching your face and eyes as that can cause further exacerbations,” Ren said.

Hearing Protection

Sound levels at outdoor events and festivals can reach 120 decibels, and any sound above 80 decibels is considered the ‘danger zone.’ To protect your hearing during prolonged exposure to loud noises, bring earplugs – the foam ones that you can place inside your ears or the over-the-ear earmuffs.

Hearing damage can result in hearing loss, a reduced sensitivity to sounds or tinnitus, a common condition people experience when exposed to loud noises, where they might hear ringing or buzzing in their ears that no one else can hear.

“Investing in easy-to-use, quality earplugs can help to mitigate the risk of hearing damage. Your future self will thank you for preserving your hearing health,” said Ren.

By Taylor Barnes

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