Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras safety tips from medical experts

Mardi Gras safety tips from medical experts
MGN Online
Mardi Gras

POSTED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 1:24pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 1:26pm

Mardi Gras season is in full swing as more than a million people arrive in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area within the week for Fat Tuesday, March 4.

Add alcohol, parade throws and moving vehicles to the mix of large crowds, and it could be a recipe for disaster during carnival time if you don’t take the proper precautions.

“Numerous injuries can occur during carnival season,” says Dr. Michael Cuba, of the Emergency Department at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge.

“You should be aware of your surroundings when driving or walking near parades and parade traffic to avoid being hit by a float or other vehicle,” Dr. Cuba explains.

Here are some practical safety tips from Dr. Cuba and Ochsner.

Do not climb on or over barricades. They’re meant to protect you since floats can be especially dangerous because it’s impossible for drivers to be able to see everything around them.

Avoid running between or chasing floats for beads and throws. Also, never reach under a float for a throw, even when the float is not moving.

Be alert for beads, doubloons and other trinkets being thrown during parades. Many injuries occur from being hit in the eye or head by throws.

Do not fight over throws. One really nice bead is not worth getting injured and ending up in the Emergency Room.

If throws end up on the ground and you want to pick them up, put your foot on them first, and then reach for them to avoid having your hand stepped on by someone.

Take caution when carrying someone on your shoulders or when using elevated ladder stands. The risk for falls during parades is high due to so many people trying to move around in such a small area.

Use sunscreen and sunglasses if you plan to be outdoors all day. Sunglasses will protect your eyes not only from the sun, but also from being hit by throws.

Last, be sure to keep beads, trinkets, snapping pops and plastic bags out of reach of children. These can easily pose a choking or suffocation hazard to kids whose parents turn their attention away even briefly.

“Although we hope visitors will have a safe and enjoyable experience this carnival season, we’re ready should someone need emergency medical care,” says Dr. Cuba.

For Ochsner ER locations and wait times, visit 

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