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Festival tips for taking care of yourself

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Group of young adult friends are taking a group selfie on a smartphone while they are at a festival.

As summer comes around, so do music festivals. While Glastonbury may be taking a ‘fallow year’ in 2018, hundreds of thousands will still flock to Leeds, Creamfields, Bestival and more. More often than not, the essentials are forgotten when packing for a festival. Paracetamol, wet wipes and other considerations will ensure your festival season gets off to a flying start. Medtree, leading suppliers for medical equipment and first aid kits, are sharing their ultimate festival survival guide.

Cleanliness

Cleanliness is a huge challenge for those attending a festival. In 2017, over 200,000 festival goers made the journey to Somerset, for the world-famous Glastonbury festival. The clean-up for that year involved 1,000 volunteers, some £785,000 and six weeks. Likewise, there are only a certain number of toilets for those 200,000, and it’s best to pack wisely.

Several days of not washing properly can lead to a build-up of bad bacteria on your skin, possibly causing infections and illnesses. You will become more at risk of spots when visiting a festival. Similarly, there have also been cases of people changing contact lenses without proper sterilisation, which can affect vision in the short-term. To avoid incidents such as the above, we recommend packing:

  • Wet wipes
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Mouthwash
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Dry shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Disposable toilet seat covers (due to the reasons mentioned above)
  • Bin bags

Current medication

For those attending a festival and, currently, taking prescribed medication – you must take them. The likes of Glastonbury and other larger festivals, generally, have a ‘prescribed medication policy’, advising guests on what to do if they forget their medication. Similarly, they may even have an on-site pharmacy for any essentials during the weekend.

For those taking medication, be aware that you will likely be searched upon entering the grounds. All medicine should be kept in their original container, and you must never attempt to enter the festival with medication prescribed to another individual.

Of course, we are not forgetting the necessity for Paracetamol and Nurofen. Hay fever tablets are also recommended, as they may cost more purchasing at the festival. If the pollen count is high, the symptoms can seriously hinder your enjoyment of the weekend. Unfortunately, alcohol also triggers hay fever symptoms, containing histamines. We suggest taking:

  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Nasal drops
  • Eye drops
  • Nasal spray

First aid

While we do recommend you pack light when attending a festival, a first aid kit can make all the difference should an incident occur. Of course, there are paramedics on site for more urgent matters, but a small first aid kit can help with warding of infections should you receive a cut. You can buy relatively small first aid kits that should include:

  • Plasters
  • Gloves
  • Various types of dressing
  • Sterile gauze swabs
  • Wound wash solution
  • Safety pins – both medical and fashion benefits
  • Sports tape
  • Eye pads
  • Insect repellant

Hydration

Most festivals are held in the peak of summer, meaning dehydration is a worry. Simply, drink enough bottled water to survive a nuclear holocaust and you should be just fine. Keep drinking water to reduce the risk of headaches, dry mouth and muscle cramps – particularly when waiting for artists to take to the stage.

Sun protection

It’s likely that it’s going to be sunny when you attend your festival, so you must look after your skin. Not only can a sunburn stop you from gaining the tan you’ve been looking for, but it can also severely affect your health and mood. Your best option for sun cream is one boasting an SPF 30, and aim to apply every 2-3 hour. Look for the window of opportunity when waiting between sets.

A large floppy hat will also prove effective when it comes to sun protection. Shield your skin from the crowd and keep cool. Likewise, check the UV protection of certain sunglasses before buying.

Rain protection

While you may pack your wellies, a rainy festival can also affect your health. If you get stuck in a downpour, you’ll be colder and, subsequently, your body temperature will lower, leaving you more susceptible to viruses. Likewise, you are even more at risk when packed into a festival with hundreds of thousands of other attendees. Look out for areas that seem slippy, as you could also fall and injure yourself or others. With that in mind, we suggest you pack:

  • Ponchos – generally, you can purchase plastic ponchos on site
  • Raincoats
  • Fleece/jumper
  • Wellies with good grip
  • Several pairs of dry socks

We recommend packing more pairs of socks than you need, as numbness, nerve damage and tingling can appear in only 24 hours if you have cold feet.

Alcohol poisoning

Recently, a woman posted a video of her and a friend dancing at a festival. In that video, she inadvertently caught a man dropping a pill into her drink, highlighting the need to stay safe and protect your drinks. If you do believe you or a friend has had their drink spiked, you must seek immediate, medical attention. Watch out for symptoms such as these, also suggesting alcohol poisoning:

  • Strong smell of alcohol
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Red face
  • Deep, noisy breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • Unresponsiveness

If you do notice someone with these symptoms, there are several measures you can do yourself while waiting for medical assistance.

  • Keep the patient warm
  • Check their breathing
  • Ensure there aren’t any obstructions in their airway
  • Do not make them vomit as doing so could obstruct their airways

Drug poisoning

Drug poisoning and drug related deaths are a large problem in the UK. Unfortunately, two young students recent lost their lives at Mutiny Festival, highlighting the urgency of putting in place provisions. An initiative has recently been rolled out across the country – including the Secret Garden Party and, likely, Leeds Festival – to allow attendees to test their illegal drugs for any harmful substances, before taking them. However, there are several symptoms to be aware of that indicate drug poisoning, including:

  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Alternatively, hyperactive behaviour
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusually slow or fast pulse

If you believe someone is suffering from drug poisoning, take these steps before medical assistance arrives:

  • Call 999
  • Look for any packages that can identify what drugs have been taken
  • Check their breathing and pulse
  • Open their airway if unresponsive
  • Don’t force them to vomit
  • If they do vomit, pass them a bag and keep it. Doing so could help medical professionals identify the source of the drug

You should be aware of all of the above to ensure you have a great, fresh and healthy festival season. Likewise, don’t forget to sleep. Rest may not be a priority, but a comfy airbed and a camping pillow will certainly help with any minor issues as you make your way back to the tent.

Elliot Preece
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