Marching band, in general, is a physical activity It requires a certain level of strength, stamina, and skill -- and is physically demanding under the best of circumstances.


In Mississippi, our climate adds a completely new dimension to the marching band equation.  The oppressive Mississippi summertime heat, coupled with our world-famous humidity, has the potential to cause some serious issues among those who are unprepared.

The Tupelo Band Staff is aware of the risks of rehearsing and performing in extreme heat and humidity.  The staff is also educated on the symptoms, prevention, and treatment of heat illness.

We expect students to take HEAT SAFETY very seriously.

We expect PARENTS to communicate with their children about the importance of following all heat safety protocols.

HEAT SAFETY in the marching band activity can be boiled down (no pun intended) to FOUR areas:





is the recommended choice for hydration.  There are several brands of "electrolyte water" on the market that are also great choices for hydration.

SPORTS DRINKS (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.) 

are an acceptable choice, but should be avoided in large quantities because of their sugar content.  Sports Drinks should NOT be used to re-hydrate an individual experiencing vomiting or diarrhea -- the sugar content could worsen the symptoms.


are a poor choice for hydration.  Most contain two to three times the amount of sugar as a sports drink.

ENERGY DRINKS (Monster, Red Bull, Bang, etc.) 

are DANGEROUS choices when consumed before or during periods of hot-weather exertion.  Most energy drinks contain large quantities of sugar, caffeine, and taurine -- all of which can accelerate the onset of heat illness.

All students should PRE-HYDRATE by drinking 16 ounces of water two-three hours before an outdoor marching band rehearsal AND 8 additional ounces of water 15 minutes prior to rehearsal.

All students should intake a minimum of FOUR OUNCES (two big gulps) of water every 20 minutes of outdoor rehearsal.

All students should bring a minimum of ONE QUART (32oz) of water to each outdoor rehearsal.

All students should drink 16 ounces (one bottle) of water after each rehearsal.  If the rehearsal was especially demanding or the temperature was extraordinarily extreme, then students should drink 32 ounces (two bottles) of water.

Students should monitor the color of their urine for signs of dehydration.  Urine should be colorless or pale yellow (think: lemonade).  Dark yellow urine suggests the beginning stages of dehydration.  Orange/brownish urine is a sign that you ARE dehydrated and are at extreme risk for LIFE-THREATENING heat illness.




All students should eat a light breakfast on every rehearsal/performance day.

Avoid large quantities of DAIRY and SUGAR.

Choose foods high in fiber and protein.

Oatmeal, fruit juice, WATER, eggs, bacon, granola bars = YES

Sugary cereal, milk, doughnuts, cakes = NO

Lunch should be eaten as well.

Keep lunch on the "light" side.  Avoid heavy, greasy food.  Again, avoid dairy and sugar. 

All students should eat a substantial, filling meal after rehearsal is finished for the day.  Load up on protein and fiber.  Reward yourself with ONE cookie or ONE scoop of ice cream.  Pass on the big slice of cheesecake or the supersize milkshake.






All students should wear:


High-SPF Sunscreen

Hat (wide, 360-degree brim is best)


Loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing

PLEASE:  no jeans, sweatpants, sweatshirts, or jackets at 80+ degree band rehearsals!






Know the signs of heat illness and how to treat them.

First of all, know that PREVENTION is preferable to TREATMENT.  Follow the


guidelines in areas #1 - #3 above and you should be just fine.


symptoms:       sore legs . sweat .  complaints of "it's hot"

treatment:     follow guidelines #1 - #3 above.  You are fine.  Uncomfortable, but safe.


symptoms:   abnormally heavy sweating . dizziness . cool, moist, "goosebump" skin


while in hot environment . difficulty understanding instructions ("foggy brain") . rapid


pulse . muscle cramps

treatment:    Cease all physical activity immediately.  Go to a shaded area, sit or lie


down, and slowly drink water. 

Heat Exhaustion is serious, but usually NOT life-threatening if treated at the first




symptoms:   slurred speech . your body suddenly stops sweating . severe vomiting


. rapid, shallow breathing . racing heartbeat . severe headach

treatment:    Cease all physical activity immediately and seek medical attention. 


Submerge in ice or cold water bath.  Fluid intake.  

Heat STROKE is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

In the marching band environment, HEAT STROKE is exceptionally rare.  HEAT


EXHAUSTION is much more common among those students who do not follow safety 




GENERAL TIREDNESS...well...that's usually ALL of us at every rehearsal!  


The Mayo Clinic

National Collegiate Athletic Association

US Department of Homeland Security

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

University of Kansas Health Systems

heat safety