SXSW can be both exhilarating and excruciating, whether you’re attending an official event or walking around downtown to see what’s happening. By the time the event-packed festival is over, it’s not uncommon for attendees to go dark for a week while they hibernate, recover, or deal with any number of ailments that befell them over the course of 10 days of partying and networking.
Here are just a few.
Dehydration is one of the most common illnesses at SXSW, says Dr. Carly Pollack, owner of Nutritional Wisdom, a holistic nutrition private practice based in Austin.
“Many people will get the common cold after SXSW due to the body being rundown and the immune system becoming more susceptible to viruses and bacteria,” Pollack says. “The biggest contributors are lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and too much alcohol.”
The best preventative measures, which admittedly can be hard to do during South By madness, are about eight hours of sleep, drinking green vegetable juices during the day to aid in nutrient absorption, and hydration and ensuring you drink half your weight in ounces of water each day.
Recognizing the difference between volume depletion and dehydration
One of the most common mistakes people make with their bodies is mistaking volume depletion for dehydration. Dehydration is simply the loss of water in your body, while volume depletion is the combination of loss of water, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and other electrolytes.
Recognizing the difference is crucial, because the treatment for each is different, says Dr. Tobin Lim, founder and medical director of Alive Hydration, a fully custom IV and hydration treatment clinic in Austin.
“The No. 1 problem people have during SXSW is maintaining their entire volume status,” Lim says. “Every day that goes by during the festival people drag further and further behind their optimal volume level.”
An easy way to identify volume depletion is to look for salt crystals on your shirt when you’ve been sweating outside. If that’s the case, Lim says, fluids like coconut water and watermelon-, carrot-, or tomato-based juices can all work to replenish the volume of electrolytes in your body. Luckily, with Austin being such a health-conscious city, those products are easily available.
Foods and fluids with high salt content can also help. “The cheapest thing you can do is add a bit of salt to your water,” Lim says. “If you’re at a hotel, grab a couple of salt packets from downstairs, because wherever salt goes in your body, water will follow.”
Lim also says eating barbecue and other heavily salted foods can help. Since this is Texas, we vote for that one. Just be ready for the potential heartburn that could follow.
Heartburn and indigestion
If you’re like many of the other SXSW attendees, you’re looking forward to taking full advantage of Austin’s incredible food scene. But all that barbecue can cause even the sturdiest of stomachs to revolt when you’re running from event to event. When that happens, Lim says to go with vegetable charcoal (or carbo vegetalis), which is ideal for reflux, indigestion, gas, and bloating. It’s also much cheaper than your typical over-the-counter antacids.
SXSW can also take a heavy toll on your feet, ears, sleep hygiene, diet, and more. If you find yourself wanting to consult with a provider about these ailments, simply log on to Medici — the latest way for you connect with your doctor, child’s pediatrician, nutritionist, vet, and more!
From March 10 to March 16, Medici will have medical providers, including those mentioned in this article, available on the app for SXSW-goers to consult with and ask questions about issues they may be experiencing. By simply having a consultation during SXSW, you’ll be entered to win $200.
Want to text, video chat, and consult with your existing providers? Invite them to use Medici! Your first consultation will be free for up to 30 days after SXSW ends.
Remember to download Medici on the App Store or Google Play to keep professional care at your fingertips. If you have a consultation with one of the providers on Medici from March 10 to March 16 and use the code CULTUREMAP, you’ll be entered to win $200. After March 16, invite all your doctors (and even your vet) to use Medici and virtually consult anytime with your own providers.