Paying attention to your health might not be at the top of your list of things to do during playoff season. That’s why experts at Baylor College of Medicine have put together a list of quick health tips to help get you through those nail-biting games.

Heartburn

To ease symptoms of acid reflux after eating greasy ballpark or party food:

  • Take a brief walk after eating
  • Sit up after eating; lying down or reclining makes it easier for stomach acid to move into the esophagus
  • Avoid peer pressure to binge eat or drink
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Make healthy diet choices the following day
  • Pack an antacid
  • Wear loose-fitting garb

Source: Dr. Hashem El-Serag, chair of medicine and professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor.

Crowd anxiety

If you know you have issues with crowds, preparation is key:

  • Have a plan – know exactly where to go if you become overwhelmed
  • Communicate – talk with someone you are with so they understand what to expect
  • Practice – run through calming strategies you know work, for example, breathing techniques

Source: Dr. John Oldham, professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor

Germs

Anywhere there is a crowd there are germs, but it is simple to protect yourself:

  • Carry hand sanitizer
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • Don’t share drinks
  • Cover your mouth using your elbow when you cough or sneeze

Source: Dr. Irvin Sulapas, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor and primary care sports medicine physician

Protect your hearing

Big crowds mean big noise so keep the following in mind when it comes to your hearing and that of your children:

  • Wear ear protection – foam ear plugs can provide 15 to 35 decibels of sound attenuation, however earmuffs are a better option for babies
  • Pain or ringing in the ears? Move to a quiet place to give your ears a break
  • Remember you cannot repair the damage to your ears caused by noise

Source: Laura Schadt, audiologist in the Bobby R. Alford Department of Otolaryngology at Baylor

Protect your voice

You might get caught up in the game but you don’t want to lose your voice:

  • Yelling and cheering, as well as talking over a loud crowd, can strain the voice and increase muscle tension around the voice box
  • Stay hydrated with water, not alcohol – water decreases the thick secretions that cause people to clear their throat
  • Water may lessen irritation but it will not stop damage from overuse such as throat pain, cough, hoarseness and risk of hemorrhage of the vocal folds
  • Find celebration alternatives – pom-poms, foam fingers, doing the wave and clapping

Source: Charisse Wright, speech-language pathologist for the Institute for Voice and Swallowing at Baylor

Heart health

Research has shown that there is an increase in heart attacks following big sporting events. Here is what to keep in mind:

  • If you have a known heart ailment such as hypertension, coronary artery disease or a family history of heart conditions, be sure to take your medications regularly during the playoffs and World Series.
  • Be mindful of how you feel and check your blood pressure regularly if you can. When you do so, sit quietly for a few minutes. If your reading is high, wait for a few minutes and repeat.
  • If you have chest pressure or tightness with symptoms of sweating or shortness of breath or nausea that are persistent, don’t write it off as game-time stress, head to an emergency room.

Source: Dr. Christie Ballantyne, professor of medicine and chief of the section of cardiology at Baylor