The physicians of Mercy want you to make memories at the Washington Town and Country Fair, and not the kind that might include a visit to the Mercy First Aid Station or Emergency Room.
The Washington Town and Country Fair runs from Aug. 1-5. Its theme this year is “Making Memories.”
The Fair is routinely one of the three largest in Missouri. People from Franklin County and beyond — as many as 95,000 — come to see the big name entertainment, a large midway, tractor and truck pulls, livestock shows and displays of artists and merchants. Where so many people congregate, especially outdoors, mishaps are bound to happen.
“Mercy has staffed the first aid station at the Fair for many years, and most people who come in have the same type of injuries and complaints,” said Mercy Clinic Family Medicine Washington physician Jennifer Stearnes, MD, who has worked at the Fair’s first aid station since 2009.
“A lot of people have heat exhaustion, are in need of sunscreen, have blisters from their new shoes, scraped knees or headaches. Those are most common and most are preventable.”
Heat exhaustion is extremely uncomfortable and can develop into heat stroke, which can be life threatening. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness and nausea.
“People with heat exhaustion can come to the Mercy First Aid Station, cool down in the air conditioning, replenish their fluids and usually get back to Fair activities,” said Dr. Stearnes. “By then they know they need to slow down, replenish and take breaks in shady areas.”
Other things you can do:
• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
•Wear shoes that have already passed the “comfortable” test and won’t hurt your feet while doing a lot of walking.
• Wear a hat with a wide brim to provide shade and keep the head cool.
• Apply and reapply sunscreen frequently according to the package directions —sunburn affects the body’s ability to cool itself. It also causes pain and damages the skin.
• Drink water and sports beverages to keep from dehydrating and replenish minerals.
• Drink more fluids than your thirst indicates and avoid alcohol, which can cause dehydration at a time when you need to hydrate.
• Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours and take breaks in cooler areas.
“Be aware of where you’re walking, and what may be coming into your path,” said Dr. Stearnes. “Of course, we can’t always plan for everything, which is why the Mercy First Aid station exists. Mercy physicians and nurses will be there if you need us.”
The Mercy First Aid station is centrally located between the North and South gates across from the Motor Sports Arena.