Five top tips for staying healthy at festivals this summer

With a summer of festivals and outdoor events ahead of us, it is easy to forget how much pressure avoidable, festival-related health problems add to local NHS services.

Stephane Jaglin, pharmacist at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, has seen this first hand.

“Festivals are huge amounts of fun, if you are a responsible and healthy festival goer,” he said.

“But there are pitfalls, which is why we have come up with these hints and tips.”

Drink, and not just alcohol!

Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, even if it should rain. It’s so easy to forget to drink enough, especially in queues and during live performances. If you feel dizzy or your urine is dark, those are signs that you need to take on more liquid.

Go easy on the booze: alcohol not only interferes with your senses but also contributes to dehydration.

Stephane Jaglin, pharmacist at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre
Stephane Jaglin, pharmacist at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre

Fuel your fun

Don’t forget to eat properly. Festivals are fun but they can put additional strain on our bodies, so it is essential to ensure that we keep ourselves well-fuelled with a balanced diet.

If you are buying food from stalls at festivals make sure they display the appropriate food safety certification. If you’re not sure, walk away: no-one wants to be at a festival with an upset stomach.

Keep clean

Keep your hands clean, especially when eating, handling food, or caring for young children – and be especially careful after visiting the loo. Make sure you pack lots of hand gel and consider packing anti-diarrhoea medication and oral rehydration sachets.#

Hear this warning

Think about protecting your ears. Long term exposure to loud music can cause irreversible damage to hearing, from tinnitus to deafness. Be particularly vigilant to protect the hearing of babies and young children.

Seek the shade

Getting yourself painfully sunburnt could ruin the festival for you, or take you out of the action with heatstroke. Try to find shade wherever possible and make sure that you use an effective sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 and a UVA rating of 4 or 5 stars, from a reputable brand, especially if your skin is fair. Wear a hat – particularly if you are thinner on top – and always ensure that children are well covered up.

Stephane said: “The key to having summer fun at festivals is planning as well as partying. Most festivals run some form of medical centre, so get to know where it is. If you take regular medicines, it is a good idea to keep some records on your person of your medical condition, any medicines you take and any allergies you have.

“Finally, be ‘festival good citizens’ and keep an eye out for each other. Festivals are a great coming together of people, but there is always potential for individuals to become isolated or fall ill without being noticed. If you see someone is ill, help them to get to the medical tent or alert the festival stewards.”

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