Open Letter on Tips for Prevention of Heat Illness during the Brickyard 400 Weekend …

Posted: July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


Dear Race Fans,

As temperatures this weekend could be warm, please take note of these preventative measures. The best defense against heat related illness is prevention.  As you prepare to attend the Brickyard 400 consider the following:

  • Conditioning
    • Slowly build up your exposure to hot, humid environments the week prior to the race so that your body has a chance to acclimate
  • Dress
    • Wear light, loose fitting clothing
    • Wear a wide brimmed hat
  • Fluids
    • Drink more fluids regardless of activity level
      • Don’t wait until you feel thirsty
      • Hydration is a continuous process
      • Electrolyte drinks (sports drinks) are best
    • Drink it. Don’t pour it!
      • While pouring fluids over your head may temporarily feel great, it will not help restore your body fluids or lower your temperature.
    • Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine
      • Alcohol and caffeine both act to increase fluid losses through a process called diureses which will worsen dehydration
      • Alcohol will alter your mental status and judgment and may mask symptoms of serious exposures
  • Protect yourself from the sun
    • Protect you eyes from UV radiation with sun glasses
    • Apply sunscreen frequently
  • Take frequent shade breaks
    • Take advantage of shady areas under stands or trees
    • Take advantage of the misting stations situated around the property
  • Know the symptoms of heat illness
    • Seek treatment if you or anyone around you becomes ill
    • Identify in advance the nearest first aid station to your seats
    • If you need help summon the nearest safety patrol

Please remember that individuals at both extremes of age (very young and very old) are at much greater risk for developing heat related illness.  Use the “buddy system” and check frequently on your friends and family members and make sure they are doing everything they can to keep themselves hydrated.  Remember, never leave anyone in a parked closed vehicle.

If you take these simple precautions, you can help make the weekend enjoyable and safe for yourself and your family and friends.


Geoffrey L. Billows, MD

Medical Director

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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