Rainy days are becoming few and far between, the BBQs are being dusted off and over 300 music festivals across the UK are preparing to open their gates to thousands of eager festival-goers.
Despite common misconceptions that festivals are a relaxing and free-spirited weekend away with friends, the reality is, they are often claustrophobic, chaotic and usually cold.
The first rule of going to a festival is to be prepared.
Omar El-Gohary, Superintendent Pharmacist at ChemistDirect offers some advice on medical essentials to pack for a festival weekend.
He says: “Probably the most important and also the most forgotten thing to remember to take to a festival in the summer is sun cream. Although people might laugh at the idea of getting sunburnt in England, it is always best to be prepared.”
“Too long in the sun, unprotected, can lead to very painful burning, but also serious dehydration – especially is alcohol is being consumed at the same time.
“Becoming dehydrated can lead to sickness, headaches and loss of energy – not ideal at a festival. “
Another essential is rehydration salts such as Dioralyte, which help to replace electrolytes in the body and contain glucose to help the body absorb the water as quickly as possible.
Dioralyte is particularly effective after a night of drinking alcohol and if you have been sick, where a lot of water is lost from the body.
Whether it’s from dancing all night, or walking miles in uncomfortable wellies, one of the most common and painful complaints at a festival is blisters. Festivals can often be dusty or muddy, so it’s essential to take plenty of plasters and insoles as plasters will not only come in handy for blisters, but also any festival related cut or graze which needs protecting.
El-Gohary added: “A gaping sore or cut will not only stop you dancing, it could lead to further infection and cause serious pain.”
As everyone knows, festivals aren’t always the most hygienic places, with thousands of men and women sharing toilets for up to five days straight. There is also the well-known problem of running out of loo paper and people are likely to go to extreme solutions. Take antiseptic wipes and hand gel and carry them with you at all times.
“Take protection such as Carex anti-bacterial hand gel which kills 99.9% of germs. At festivals, the risk of infection and germs spreading are hugely heightened due to the number of people in a much more confined environment.”
“In addition to this, many of the facilities and communal activities will not have been washed or cleaned for many days and will harbour huge amounts of bacteria.”
Another essential, if not mandatory piece of kit is painkillers.
El-Gohary said: “Aspirin is a pain relief specifically targeting headaches. It is a member of a family of chemicals called salicylates which have been used in medicine for centuries.”
“Ordinary over-the-counter painkillers can be effective for headaches too, but at a festival, they would be useful for treating any minor ailments such as pain from falling over, stomach pains or the first signs of a cold.”
And whether you’re attached or single, it’s a good idea to pack condoms too.
El-Gohary adds: “If you are on the contraceptive pill and have an upset tummy, it is important that additional protection is used for seven days to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
“Condoms are also the only way to avoid catching sexually transmitted diseases.”
Going to a festival, with these few medical items will significantly reduce the risk of your weekend being ruined or coming back with more than you bargained for…