Festivals are one of the big highlights of the British summer for hundreds of thousands of music fans every year.
Whether you'll be moshing in the mud at Reading or you’re fortunate enough to be glamping at Glastonbury, there are some common health hazards that can be avoided.
"A music festival is often a real highlight of the summer that you may well have been looking forward to for ages,” said Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler, Medical Director for North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
“It’s a real shame if something goes wrong and your big weekend becomes one to remember for all the wrong reasons. Fortunately, many of the injuries and health complaints that can ruin your festival experience can be avoided with a bit of planning, keeping a level head and taking the right precautions.”
Taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol are very risky activities, especially in a setting where you don’t know exactly what is in what you’re taking or drinking, or how strong it is.
“Consuming too much alcohol, not drinking enough water, and spending hours in the sun without a hat or sunscreen all put the health of partygoers at risk,” added Dr Jaggs-Fowler.
“If you are going to drink, it’s important to stick within recommended limits. Men shouldn't drink more than three to four units a day. For women, it's two to three units. Alcohol also dehydrates you, so drink plenty of water to help prevent a nasty hangover that might otherwise make you miss your favourite act.”
Cllr Carl Sherwood, cabinet member for Community Wellbeing with North Lincolnshire Council, said: “With the festival season upon us, we want to make sure that people have a great time, but are safe. Don’t ruin your experience by not looking after yourself.
“We would advise people to drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and don’t drink too much alcohol – stick to the recommended limits.”
“Taking drugs and drinking too much can be very dangerous, especially if you don’t know what exactly you are taking. Don’t put your life at risk. You don’t need these substances to have a good time. Your time at a festival could quickly go wrong if you don’t think about your health.”
Helpful Tips & Tricks
- Find out where the festival’s medical centres are when you arrive. If you think you may need assistance with an existing medical condition, make yourself known to the medical staff on your arrival.
- First Aiders can’t hand out medication except over-the-counter remedies such as Paracetamol. If you need regular medication, bring it with you and take as prescribed. Keep it on you or get it stored safely in the medical centre. If you're asthmatic, don't forget your inhaler(s) and carry it with you. Have a pack of plasters and some disinfectant for minor grazes and cuts, and medication for headaches and stomach upsets.
- Reduce your risk of picking up or spreading sickness and diarrhoea by washing your hands before you eat and after you go to the toilet. Wash your hands if you've been handling rubbish. Take wet wipes and antibacterial hand gel to use on your hands. If you get a cut, wash it with clean water. If you think it's infected, get help from the first aiders.
- Music festivals can be hard on your feet. It's important to keep them clean and dry to prevent problems such as blisters, fungal infections or even trench foot that can develop after prolonged exposure to the wet and cold. Take wellies and spare, dry socks. If possible, take your shoes and socks off at night. Flip-flops are not great footwear for festivals and neither are new shoes that can give you blisters.
- Use a sun cream with a minimum factor of 15, and reapply regularly. If you do get burned, apply after-sun lotion to soothe the affected area. It doesn't take much sun to get severely burned or have sunstroke when you're outside all day so wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover your back and shoulders.
- Protect your hearing and wear earplugs when you're close to the speakers. Take regular breaks from the music to give your ears a rest.
- Waterproofs and spare warm clothing are essential as people have been known to get hypothermia (when your body temperature drops below safe levels) at festivals when the temperature falls at night, especially if their clothes are damp from sweat.
- If you’re camping, take care cooking. Camping gas accidents are the most common cause of serious burns at festivals. Never change gas canisters in or near a tent and always check the canister is threaded properly before lighting.
- Having sex without a condom increases the chance of pregnancy or catching a sexually transmitted infection. Emergency contraception and sexual health advice is generally available from onsite medics.
For further information contact the North Lincolnshire CCG Communications Team on 03300 249301.