If you’re heading to a music festival this summer, you’re in for a great weekend listening to your favourite bands and having a laugh with all your friends, or even making new ones! But even when you’re busy enjoying yourself, the hours of drinking, unfamiliar food and unpredictable weather can play havoc with your health.
Here, we take a look at some of the most common health problems that can strike at music festivals, with advice on how to treat them on the spot right there and then.
This is when your body loses more fluid than it’s taking in. Spending the weekend drinking more alcohol than water can lead to dehydration and even if you don’t drink, hot conditions can increase the risk. As well feeling thirsty, common signs that you’re dehydrated include a dry mouth, headaches, dizziness and dark-coloured urine. In severe cases, dehydration can cause fainting, seizures and in the worst cases, even brain damage.
How to deal with dehydration
Avoiding alcoholic drinks and drinking more fluids like water or rehydration drinks can help to keep you hydrated. Aim to drink about 1.2 litres of fluid each day, and even more if you’re spending time in a sweaty crowd-packed tent. But if sipping on water doesn’t make any difference and you spot signs of severe dehydration, get medical help immediately.
Let’s face it, festivals aren’t the most hygienic places. Muddy fields, shared toilets and dodgy food expose you to stomach bugs that can leave you rushing for the toilet. Food poisoning is usually caused by eating food that’s been contaminated by harmful bacteria or parasites. But it’s also possible to pass these germs onto other people. Symptoms like stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea usually appear within a few hours or a few days.
How to deal with food poisoning
People with food poisoning normally begin to feel better after a few days. Although, this isn’t ideal if you’re away from home at a festival. Taking it easy and drinking water means you can still get the most out of the weekend. Stick to small meals and bland food like plain rice or crackers until you feel better. To avoid food poisoning in the first place, wash your hands regularly or use antibacterial hand gel or wipes.
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When your body’s temperature gets too high, you can suffer from symptoms of heatstroke or heat exhaustion. In mere minutes or over a few hours or days, heat exhaustion can make you feel dizzy or sick, sweat heavily and experience headaches or muscle cramps. If these symptoms aren’t treated, they could lead to heatstroke which can cause seizures or fainting.
How to deal with heat exhaustion and heatstroke
Avoiding hot conditions is the best way to reduce your chances of heatstroke. Try to stay in the shade, put on sunscreen and keep your fluid levels topped up. If you spot signs of heat exhaustion, bring your body temperature down to stop heatstroke from developing. Rest in the shade, drink cold water or rehydration drinks and cool your skin with ice or cold packs. You should be on the mend in about half an hour.
Ringing in the Ears
Listening to loud, booming music can leave your ears ringing or buzzing for hours or days afterwards. These buzzing or ringing noises are temporary episodes of tinnitus which gets better over time. In some cases, high noise levels can even cause permanent hearing damage.
How to deal with ringing in the ears
To save your ears, take along some ear plugs. Not only will they help you get a good night’s sleep when you’re disturbed by other festivalgoers talking and snoring at night, they’ll ensure your favourite band sounds even better. Choose ear plugs that filter sounds without blocking them and never stand too close to the speakers.
Sun exposure can cause red, sore skin that is itchy or painful to the touch. But it doesn’t have to be scorching outside, you can also burn on cloudy days. In the long run, sunburn can increase your risk of developing more serious conditions like skin cancer.
How to deal with sunburn
Avoiding the sun can be a challenge when you’re watching the main outside stage at a festival, so protect your skin with a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15. Apply it to any bare skin including your neck, face and ears, at least 30 minutes before you leave your tent. If you’ve been sunburnt, apply aftersun to soothe your skin and fight pain with an anti-inflammatory painkiller. Try to stay covered up or out of the sun to allow your skin to heal.
Read more about protecting yourself from the sun at festivals in our post on essential health and beauty skin care products.
At a festival, having an amazing time may be your main priority but looking after yourself means your fun doesn’t have to be cut short. Make sure you’re prepared and remember the weekend for all the right reasons with essential items from our summer shop.