x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Stay hydrated, experts warn after reports that Rihanna fans collapsed during UAE concert

Medical experts are calling for concert-goers to take the necessary health precautions following reports that several fans collapsed with heat exhaustion and dehydration at the Abu Dhabi leg of Rihanna’s Diamonds World Tour on Saturday.

Fans wait for Rihanna to perform in concert at du Arena, Yas Island during the Abu Dhabi leg of the singer’s Diamonds World Tour on October 19, 2013. Christopher Pike / The National
Fans wait for Rihanna to perform in concert at du Arena, Yas Island during the Abu Dhabi leg of the singer’s Diamonds World Tour on October 19, 2013. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // Music fans have been warned to stay hydrated at concerts after reports that several people collapsed at the weekend’s Rihanna show because of hot and humid conditions.

Some fans suffering from dehydration and heat exhaustion reportedly collapsed among the packed crowds at the du Arena on Saturday night as thousands flocked to the Abu Dhabi leg of the singer’s Diamonds World Tour.

Organiser Flash Entertainment confirmed some had required medical treatment.

“There were a small number of attendees who suffered dizziness or light dehydration,” the events promotion company said.

Flash said those who had become ill during the concert received help from first-aid staff. Some stayed for the rest of the concert.

Doctors are warning people to take the necessary health precautions when attending outdoor concerts and events where there are often thousands of people packed in a hot and humid venue.

Dr Joseph Manna, head of the emergency department at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, said sweating and an accelerated heart rate are among the first signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration.

“Hydration is so important,” Dr Manna said. “It is very hot and humid at these events. People need to stay hydrated, especially in crowds.”

He said those going to concerts could plan ahead by increasing their liquid intake the day before.

“Do not wait until you are dehydrated to drink lots of water,” Dr Manna said.

“Heat exhaustion happens when people are sweating a lot and they can quickly become very weak.”

Symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration include chills, weakness and headaches. If not promptly dealt with, it can lead to heat stroke, a form of hyperthermia in which the body temperature is elevated dramatically.

Heat stroke can cause damage to the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles, and happens when the body fails to regulate its own temperature, said Dr Manna.

“It can alter the mental state and can cause people to pass out.”

Dr Radia Wali Khan, a consultant on internal medicine at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi, said concert-goers should wear light and loose-fitting clothes, and drink a lot of fluids.

“It is very simple,” Dr Khan said. “Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, or even better sports drinks that have all the electrolytes people lose when they sweat in hot and humid conditions to which they are not acclimatised.”

People should also be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. These include confusion, hallucinating, muscle cramps and vomiting, she said.

“If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to cool down immediately and take in some liquids,” Dr Khan said. “Go to a shaded area, apply a cool pack, get hydrated and make sure you seek medical help as soon as possible.”

She said it was important for groups of friends to stick together.

“Look after each other,” she said. “If they start experiencing headaches or feel dizzy take them to an area where they can cool down and get help before they get full-blown heat stroke.”

Signs displaying the symptoms of heat exhaustion should be on show around any concert venue and first-aid responders should be dressed to be easily seen in a crowd, Dr Khan said.

Concert organisers should also make sure there are plenty of restrooms at any concert, she said, as often people avoid drinking fluids to avoid long queues.

Flash Entertainment said the welfare of guests was their “No 1 priority”.

“On warm nights, Flash staff distribute free bottles of water to fans throughout the night,” the company said.

“Professional first-aid responders are also on hand to immediately care for any fans who are taken ill.”

With a number of events due to take place over the next two weeks at du Arena and on the Corniche during Yasalam, Flash said fans could ensure they enjoyed them safely by wearing light cotton clothing, keeping a bottle of water at all times and staying out of the sun on the day of the concert.

jbell@thenational.ae