By Dr Sebastian Winckler MD, Private GP
When visiting the UK, you're never far from a rock and pop music festival during the UK summer and fall. From May until September hundreds of rock and pop festivals take place across Great Britain. The largest of them can last for days and can draw crowds in the 100.000s. Regardless of where you go and what you see, there are common health hazards that can be avoided.
Alcohol and staying hydrated
If you drink alcohol, drink sensibly and stick within the recommended limits. Men shouldn’t regularly drink more than three to four units a day. For women, it’s two to three units. Alcohol dehydrates you, so drink plenty of water to help prevent a nasty hangover. Have a bottle of water with you at all times. The combination of heat, dancing and alcohol can quickly dehydrate you. Many festivals supply free fresh water, so there's no excuse.
Drugs and medication
Find out where the site’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.
If you’re on any medication, bring your supply with you and take it as prescribed. Keep it on you or get it stored safely in the medical centre. If you are a regular drug user don’t take more than you are used to. Have a pack of plasters and some disinfectant for minor grazes and cuts, and medication for headaches and stomach upsets.
Having sex without a condom increases the chance of pregnancy or catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia. Emergency contraception and sexual health advice is generally available from onsite medics.
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 trench foot. Trench foot typically develops after prolonged exposure to the wet and cold.
Protect your ears and skin
Wear earplugs when you're close to loud speakers. Take regular breaks from the music to give your ears a rest. Wear a hat and use a sun cream with a minimum factor of 15. Don’t forget to apply it regularly. If you do get burned, apply after-sun lotion to soothe the affected area.
A festival can be the most unforgettable weekend of your summer, if you haven’t already noticed we proper love them, and we know that you will too. A bit of planning can go a really long way at a festival and we hope these tips will help you have a great time, so take care of yourself and each other and hopefully, we'll see you there!
For a same-day GP appointment on return from a festival call +richmond practice on 020 8940 5009 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org