Prevention best plan to celebrate safely at Country Stampede

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kicker Country Stampede kicks off at Topeka’s Heartland Motorsports Park next week Thursday, June 24. It’s the first big outdoor festival - in the summer heat! - in quite some time, thanks to the pandemic.

Since it’s been a while since we’ve spent all day with a crowd out in the heat, Stormont Vail Emergency Physician Curtis McGeeney reminds us to watch for signs of trouble. He says dehydration tops the list.

“In terms of watching out for symptoms, you’d want to make sure that you’re not feeling fatigued, light headed, dizzy, more tired than normal. Of course, if you lost consciousness that would be more concerning,” he said.

Dr. McGeeney says those more serious symptoms could be a sign of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Prevention is the best medicine.

“It’s important to stay well-hydrated when you’re out in the heat. It’s also important to minimize things like alcohol consumption that can lead to dehydration,” he said. “Use appropriate sun protection and take breaks in the shade.”

Plus, the pandemic brings a new set of precautions. Dr. McGeeney says close contact in crowds increases likelihood of virus spread, and, while the vaccines are highly effective, they’re not 100 percent.

“Try to maintain social distancing to the best of our abilities. Utilize a mask if and when it’s appropriate, as we know it’s an effective means to minimize transmission; and then of course if you’re symptomatic and potentially have an illness like COVID-19, I would recommend that you stay home so you don’t potentially expose other individuals,” he said.

Stormont Vail’s emergency department is again partnering on the festival’s health care team. They’ll have a physician on-site to assist EMS crews, in assessing who they treat or observe on site, and who needs the higher care of a trip to the ER.

“Our goal in doing so is to provide a service for the community, but also to protect the ER in a sense and make sure that we’re appropriately triaging patients so that we can still serve our community in a normal capacity,” Dr. McGeeney said.

Stormont also partnered with Country Stampede the first year it was held in Topeka, in 2019. Last year’s festival was canceled due to the pandemic.

Kicker Country Stampede runs June 24 thru 26.

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