The Health Hazards to Remember
Festivals promise a full day of fun, but in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget all the health and wellness tips with which you so recently prepped. Whether you’re at a neighborhood block party or a multi-day music festival, the mishaps can happen fast: one friend will forget to re-apply sunscreen, someone else will wear brand new shoes and still another might hydrate with beer.
Don’t let health hazards hijack a fun festival. Remember these risks to ensure you and your group are good all day long.
In theory, this one’s easy to remember. Drink when you’re thirsty, especially when you’re hot. However, staying hydrated is easy to forget when you’re having fun and not all your options are actually going to help your case. Caffeinated beverages, like iced coffee, can do more damage than good, not to mention alcoholic beverages, which actually make dehydration worse. Keep an eye on your friends and encourage them to watch out for you, too. If a person is drinking large quantities of something dehydrating, make sure he or she is getting water, too. If you begin to feel or notice the symptoms of dehydration, consider something with electrolytes, like a sports drink. If you can bring your own, opt for refillable water bottles and make sure everyone in your group has enough.
2. Sun Damage
You lathered on the sunscreen before you left your house, so you’re good for a day in the sun – right? Wrong! Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two to four hours, especially if you’re in direct sunlight. That said, try not to be. Take breaks in the shade, wear a hat and protective sunglasses, and when at all possible, cover up with some sun-protective clothing. In any case, the sunscreen mantra applies: early and often. Set a phone alarm if you think you’ll forget and remind your friends to do the same. It’s all for one and one for all with application. Anytime someone in your group reapplies, it’s reason for everyone to add another coat.
3. Heat Stroke
When heat stroke happens, your body is unable to regulate temperature and that can escalate fairly quickly. Headaches, high body temperature and confusion are early symptoms of heat stroke, which can also include warning signs similar to a neurological stroke: slurred speech, dizziness and clammy skin. Staying aware of your other risks – namely, dehydration and sun damage – can help prevent heat stroke from happening or getting out of hand. If you notice friends or family who seem out of sorts or extra affected by the heat, get them to cool area out of the sun and begin to cool them down with water and fans. If the festival you’re at has a medical tent, head there.
4. Foot Pain
Most festivals involve a lot of walking. It’s part of the fun of being outside; roaming around and exploring what the grounds have to offer. However, a festival isn’t the time to try out new shoes. Just because a pair of sandals felt great walking to the coffee shop doesn’t mean they’re ready for a full day’s adventure. Blisters and sore feet can develop quickly, and if you don’t have access to bandages, moleskin or other help for your feet, you’ll not only be uncomfortable, but you can increase your risk of infection as well.
5. Allergy Attacks
Allergies can sneak up on you and really put a damper on your day. Whether seasonal or food, you may not have a lot of advanced knowledge as to what’s in nature or the food trucks you’ll be enjoying all day. If you have any allergy or medical issues, be sure to carry with you any needed medications, emergency treatments or medical identification.
6. Hearing Damage
Music festivals are inherently loud, but most fairs and block parties can bring the noise, too. Bring along earplugs, especially if you’ll be front row for a long period of time. While permanent damage won’t occur after a few hours, it’s better to form a healthy habit and avoid hearing loss down the road.