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Focus On CommunityHealth

Mardi Gras health and safety tips

Whether it’s the food, the drinking or the throws there can be a few concerns about health and safety. Health experts from Lafayette General Medical Center share tips.

“Us in south Louisiana, we tend to really over do it.”

Our health can take a hit the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, but Kate Rountree, dietitian at Lafayette General Bariatrics department says that’s only if we let it.  “If you know you’re going to parades Friday night Saturday night and again next week think about it and plan maybe just one day you’ll splurge.”

It’s not easy, but in the midst of the fun we have to think about our health.

Rountree says, “In between every alcoholic beverage, if you are going to drink alcohol, to have a bottle of water to try and limit the amount of alcohol that’s consumed will certainly help you feel better the next day and keep you hydrated.”

Water isn’t just great for hydrating.

The week leading up to Mardi Gras especially, Pediatrician Dr. Bryan G. Sibley, MD, FAAP is recommending you wash your hands thoroughly because you’ll be around a lot of people and you don’t want to pass along germs. “There’s a lot higher risk of germs being inside when people are sharing those germs, still good idea for hand washing.”

It’s unpreparedness that really brings kids into Dr. Sibley’s office after Mardi Gras. “Some of the most severe sunburns I’ve seen in my practice have been the Wednesday after Mardi Gras.”

It doesn’t matter how hot it is, if the sun is out Dr. Sibley says you can get sunburn. He’s recommending a 15 or more SPF sunscreen, preferably 30 SPF 30 minutes before the parade and every 40 minutes after that. That’s not all he’s treating the Wednesday after Mardi Gras.  “Chipped teeth, injured eyes, black eyes stitches in the scalp. These are all things we’ve seen in result of beads and other items.”

Dr. Sibley recommends kids don’t stand in the first row as the parades roll in to prevent them from getting hit. And if you’re worried your child may get lost in the madness, he recommends writing your contact information and putting that in your child’s pocket so they can give that information to the authorities.

Here are more safety tips from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

  • Be aware of your surroundings in crowded areas, and keep children with you at all times.
  • If you are wearing a costume or mask, make sure you can move around comfortably and see clearly.
  • Protect your face and be aware of beads, doubloons and other objects being thrown from floats – especially at night parades, when these can be harder to see.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. And, watch your alcohol intake.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from exposure while watching parades outdoors.