How to Survive the Presidential Inauguration

Tips for what type of clothes to wear and how not to get sick.

To avoid getting sick during inauguration weekend, dress in layers, drink warm beverages, and load up on energy-boosting snacks. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

The big inauguration weekend is upon us, and we can’t wait for all the parades, parties, and other festivities. But with endless celebrations followed by a full Monday of standing around in the cold, plenty of people are bound to get sick.

To avoid catching that dreaded flu or nagging cough, follow these inauguration day tips, courtesy of George Washington University Hospital.

1) Avoid cotton clothes.
Monday’s weather is predicted to hover around a high of 40 degrees, according to The Department of Health and Human Services recommends wearing clothing made of wool, silk, or polypropylene, since they hold more body heat than cotton. And while 40 degrees may not be below freezing, it’s still important to dress in layers.

2) Drink warm beverages.
But make sure they don’t contain caffeine. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can cause the body to lose heat more rapidly, compared with warm, sweet beverages. Note: Be careful if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, as cold weather can put extra stress on the heart.

3) Load up on energy-boosting snacks.
Since caffeine isn’t recommended, eat snacks that are high in carbohydrates and protein, which are instant energy boosters. Try fruits with skin (think apples), Greek yogurt, trail mix, or a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter. 

4) Mittens over gloves.
They may make it more difficult to snap a picture of the Prez with your smartphone, but mittens are warmer than gloves. Also bundle up with hats and scarves.

5) Wear comfy shoes.
The official inauguration website says to ask yourself whether you “have the physical stamina to stand outside in the cold, in a large crowd, for six hours or more.” Monday is not the time to worry about dressing up, so ditch the high-heeled boots and wear comfortable, warm shoes. Your toes will be grateful after a weekend of inauguration ball-hopping in stilettos anyway. 

6) Keep some sort of antibacterial product on you.
You’re likely to be standing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of strangers in the cold, so expect some coughing and sneezing to surround you. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after the festivities, and keep some hand sanitizer on you at all times.

7) Don’t forget to have fun!
Yes, it requires some preparation—and maybe even a bit of discomfort. But this is a special occasion, so whether it’s your first inauguration or your fourth, once you get to your spot on the Mall with family and friends, forget about all the work it took to get there and enjoy being a part of history.