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How to put together a Glastonbury first aid kit

How to put together a Glastonbury first aid kit
How to put together a Glastonbury first aid kit

Glastonbury – one of the world’s most famous music festivals – starts near Pilton in Somerset. Our colleague James Tytko is there at the moment and we thought it would be a good idea for him to ask GP and author Adam Staten what to take with him to Worthy Farm…

Adam – I think we don’t get hot or sunny weather very often in this country. So people are often not very well prepared for it. Dehydration is a big factor, especially if you’re active all day and you’re out in the sun and the heat. You know, I think eliminating the wastage is pretty straightforward. You just need to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Typically I would say you should drink about three litres of fluid a day, but if you’re out all day and you’re particularly active, even four or five litres is probably a good idea. Another thing to keep in mind that goes hand in hand with music festivals like this is alcohol consumption, and of course alcohol can contribute to dehydration, so it’s a good idea to replace alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks to keep your hydration up.

James – I’ll do my best. I can’t promise I won’t have a few beers over the course of the weekend though, so I’ll definitely be drinking more water. I also have pretty pasty white skin.

Adam – I think most of us have had a sunburn at some point. I mean, of course there are loads of them, from quite mild to quite severe. If you’re careful and think about what you’re doing, you can avoid it quite easily. For example, wear a hat. Use a high SPF sunscreen of course and try to stay in the shade, especially during the hottest times of the day from about 11am to 3pm when the sun is really high and strong.

James – The final factor in this triple threat of sunny weather for someone like me is the pollen count.

Adam – Anyone suffering from hay fever should make sure to take an antihistamine every day. Ideally one that doesn’t make you drowsy and is taken once a day. Just take it each day in advance. It would also protect you a little from the nasty reactions you might get from insect bites. If you are unlucky enough to get stung, it will stop the symptoms flaring up as much. And of course, you should think about things like nasal sprays and eye drops if these symptoms are particularly bothersome for you.

James – Long days out in the sun, I’ll be on my feet most of the time and a lot of dancing too, hopefully. One problem I’ve had in the past is that my feet really hurt, especially if you do it for several days.

Adam – It’s best to wear comfortable, well-fitting footwear that doesn’t rub or cause unusual pressure points on your feet. If you’re unlucky enough to get blisters, there are good blister plasters that you can probably get over the counter from most pharmacies in the evening. If you’re going to be sitting somewhere for a while, it might be worth taking your shoes and socks off and getting some fresh air so they’re not sweaty and damp all evening.

James – Yeah, I mean, I can’t think of a better way to ruin my weekend than a bad bout of athlete’s foot. Another inevitability is loud music from sound systems, possibly in places where you’re very close to large speakers.

Adam – Prolonged exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing. In the context of a festival. The damage you’re likely to hear will be short-lived. You might have some ringing in your ears and slightly muffled hearing for a few days, but that should improve. Of course, if it’s happening really regularly or over a long period of time, it can lead to long-term hearing problems. If you’re someone who goes to a lot of music festivals and concerts and the like, some kind of hearing protection is probably not a bad idea.

James – Lastly, I wanted to get your thoughts on going to festivals. The toilets are notorious and some people might decide, you know what, I just don’t want to go through that experience. It’s too stressful. I know there are drugs that you can take to fortify yourself for the duration of a festival so you can wait until you get home to do your business. Are these advisable in this context?

Adam – Yes, you’re right. There are brands like Imodium, which is commonly referred to as loperamide and anti-diarrheal, and it slows your body down and tends to cause constipation. I mean, it’s a personal choice really, but the downside is that you’re eliminating the diarrhea, which can cause constipation, which can then give you the other problem of getting home with pain and difficulty getting going. So I’ll have to leave it up to you, James, whether you think that’s worth it. But I suppose it’s an option.

James – On that note, Adam, thank you for all your advice. I’m going to head to the pharmacy now armed with the knowledge and I think I’ll probably leave Imodium on the shelf in this case. Thanks for talking to me.

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