Apr 19, 2024 - Health

Coachella cough, festival flu could be worse with allergies

Illustration of a flower with a menacing look

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

It's "Coachella cough" and "festival flu" season.

Why it matters: Music lovers may experience cold- and flu-like symptoms, including coughs, irritated throats, sneezing and running noses after attending large outdoor festivals this spring.

What they're saying: "If you look at an event like Coachella that takes place in a desert climate, the outside elements of high winds, dust, dirt and seasonal allergens can all contribute to nasal irritation," Pollyanna Pitt, a Primary360 physician with Teladoc Health, tells Axios.

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke, excessive alcohol use and caffeine intake can magnify these symptoms.

The American Lung Association advises festival-goers to sanitize their hands frequently, hydrate, and avoid smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke.

  • The organization also suggests boosting your immune system with a healthy diet before and after attending and to wear a mask when possible.

The big picture: Allergy season is only getting longer and worse with climate change, and Coachella lands right in the middle of it.

  • With limited hand-washing stations, dusty conditions and large crowds, colds, flus and other respiratory illnesses can spread more easily.

If you're suffering from a Coachella comedown, experts say over-the-counter medications — and simply relaxing — could help.

  • "It's critical to hydrate, rest and consider over-the-counter allergy medications, such as a non-sedating antihistamine or anti-inflammatory steroid nose spray, to help manage symptoms," Pitt says.
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