Summer is here, and the UK has experienced more than three solid days of heat. This can only mean one thing – festival season. From Glastonbury (albeit taking a ‘fallow year’ in 2018) to Reading and Leeds, Creamfields to Bestival – there are plenty of opportunities to have a laugh and get seriously muddy. However, more often than not, most forget to pack their essentials. It’s all well and good packing four outfits a day, but you’ll get nowhere without Paracetamol and wet wipes. Medtree, leading suppliers of first aid kits and medical apparatus around the world, are sharing their tips to staying healthy and smelling fresh in 2018.
One of the biggest challenges of attending a festival is staying clean. Over 135,000 attended Glastonbury in 2017, so you can imagine the toilet situation wasn’t great on the final day. Therefore, you need to pack ahead.
After several days of not washing, bad bacteria on your skin could lead to infections and illness. For instance, changing a contact lens without proper sterilisation could affect your vision in the short-term. Similarly, you will be more at risk of spots without good hygiene. However, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you are protecting your health:
- Pack enough wet wipes to last a year (there will always be someone in your group who has forgotten their pack)
- Antibacterial hand wash
- Dry shampoo
- Disposable toilet seat covers (due to the reasons mentioned above)
- Bin bags
If you take prescription medication, you must bring it to the festival. Most famous festivals have a ‘prescribed medication policy’ to ensure all guests are well looked after. Similarly, there is, typically, an on-site pharmacy for those that forget something important, and attempt to manage without it.
You will, likely, be searched on entry to the festival, so make sure all medicine is in the original container with your name clearly on the label. Don’t try to conceal your medication or attempt to bring someone else’s to the camp.
However, we do recommend bringing in boxes of Paracetamol and Nurofen. It’s going to be a long weekend, and you will likely feel the pain of it when you wake up each morning. Hay fever tablets are also essential for any sufferers – particularly if the pollen count is high that year. We’ve also got some news for you; alcohol can trigger hay fever symptoms. Alcohol contains histamines, the very enemy of those who suffer hay fever. It’s likely that you’ll be drinking, so we suggest packing:
- Antihistamine tablets
- Adult nasal drops
- Eye drops
- Nasal spray – for adults and children
You’re likely taking a large backpack to the festival, so you need to pack light. That doesn’t mean you can forget your first aid kit. You can buy small first aid kits relatively cheap these days, containing all necessary items:
- Various types of dressing
- Sterile gauze swabs
- Wound wash solution
- Safety pins – both medical and fashion benefits
- Sports tape
- Eye pads
- Insect repellant
As festivals are held in the peak of summer, you must drink enough bottled water to survive a nuclear war. If it’s especially hot and sweaty, keep drinking to reduce the risk of headaches, dry mouth eyes and lips and muscle cramps (particularly for those standing for hours).
If you’re lucky enough to attend a festival and the forecast is sunny, look after your skin. Doing so will help you get tan you’ve been looking for. And, a bad sunburn can seriously affect your health and mood throughout the festival. Choose sun cream that boasts an SPF30 – at the very least – and apply every 2-3 hours. While that may be difficult at a crowded festival, look for your window of opportunity between sets.
Similarly, a large floppy hat may do just the trick of shielding your skin in a crowd and keeping you cool. Sunglasses also offer protection too, but always check the UV protection before purchasing.
A rainy festival can not only affect your wellies, but your health too. You will be colder, thus lowering your body temperature making you more susceptible to viruses. This is even more so when you are at a festival with a hundred thousand other attendees. The floor will also be slippery, increasing the odds of you falling and hurting yourself. With that said, you should pack:
- Ponchos – plastic ponchos are, generally, available to buy on the site
- Warm raincoats
- Wellies with good grip
- Several changes of socks
The last bullet point is essential, as numbness, nerve damage and tingling can set in within 24 hours if you have cold feet.
It’s important to stay safe at festivals and protect your drinks. Recently, this topic was brought to the attention of the media as a woman filmed her drink being spiked by a passer-by. If you believe your drink has been spiked, seek immediate medical attention. Watch out for these symptoms:
- Strong smell of alcohol
- Slurred speech
- Red face
- Deep, noisy breathing
- Fast pulse
If you or a friend does suffer these symptoms, you can treat alcohol poisoning as you attempt to locate an official first aider:
- Keep them warm
- Check breathing
- Ensure no obstruction in air pathway
- Do not make them vomit, as it could lead to problems with breathing
Similarly, drug poisoning and drug-related deaths are a substantial problem in the UK. So much so, in fact, that festivals are allowing attendees to test their illegal drugs for any harmful substances, before taking them. This initiative has been rolled out at the Secret Garden Party, and is likely to be featured at Leeds Festivals. However, there are several symptoms that indicate drug poisoning:
- Stomach pains
- Alternatively, hyperactive behaviour
- Unusually slow or fast pulse
To treat drug poisoning before the paramedics arrive, you can:
- Always call 999 first
- Look for any packages that can identify the drugs taken
- Check breathing and pulse
- Open their airway if unresponsiveness
- Don’t force them to vomit
- However, if they vomit, pass them a bag and keep it, as it could help medical professionals identify the source of the drug
Alongside all of the above, it’s important to get rest. Sleep may not be a priority, but a comfy airbed and camping pillow will certainly enhance your festival experience.