Published on Jun 22, 2017
Festivals and outdoor music events are a major highlight of the summer calendar for music fans every year in the UK.
You might be moshing in the mud at Reading or glamping it up at Glastonbury, but there are some common health hazards to try to avoid, in order to stay safe and well wherever you are.
"Many people of all ages look forward to the music festivals each year, but they often don’t think of their health and safety at these events and fall foul of ill health that can ruin their experience,” said Dr Rakesh Pathak, local GP and member of the NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
“If something goes wrong the festival is remembered for all the wrong reasons, but fortunately, many of the injuries and health complaints can be avoided with a bit of planning, taking some precautions and being sensible. It is wise to seek advice for any known health conditions and know where at the festival venue you can receive medical attention should you require it.”
Taking drugs and drinking too much alcohol are risky activities, and when combined in an unfamiliar environment where you don’t know the exact contents and strength of what you are taking makes them potentially harmful.
Dr Rakesh added, “If people are drinking then it’s important to be careful and not drink too much, as alcohol dehydrates us and people need to remember to drink plenty of water and protect themselves by wearing sun cream and cover up if they are spending hours in the sun soaking up the sounds and the atmosphere.”
Don’t risk your health and potentially your life. You can enjoy your favourite bands and not miss any of the great music this summer if you think ahead and take care of 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 East Lincolnshire CCG Communications Team on 03300 249301.