The majority of incidents that St John Ambulance deals with at music festivals can be prevented if festival goers follow five simple tips:
- Stay hydrated – If you are going to spend an hour on the treadmill at the gym you would drink plenty of water, but many people spend 10 hours dancing in the sun on a 40-degree day and forget to drink water. People should drink at last half a litre for every hour they are dancing; it is important to spread your water intake throughout the day. Some of the signs of dehydration include; complaining of thirst, bright red skin, confusion, sunken eyes, complaining of dry mouth or eyes, headaches and/or muscle cramps.
- Eat before you leave home – Making sure you have enough energy to make it through the day is important, eating a good meal before you arrive at the event will ensure you have the fuel to party all day.
- Be sun smart – On hot days St John Ambulance personnel soon become very busy dealing with people who are suffering from heat exhaustion. With a little bit of pre-planning this can be easily avoided. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen before you get to the event. St John Ambulance has sunscreen available for sale at most music festivals. People should also keep applying it throughout the day. Signs of heat exhaustion include flushed skin, delirium, confusion, problems walking, shakes, shortness of breath and/or cramps.
- Drink alcohol responsibly – you have paid good money to attend the festival so don’t ruin your day by drinking so much you end up in the first aid post or hospital. Space your drinks throughout the day and drink water between each alcoholic drink.
- Don’t take illicit drugs – Our experience is most people heed this advice and enjoy the day without taking drugs, however if people do choose to take drugs it is important to minimise the harm. Make sure you have a friend with you who is not under the influence to keep you safe. If you do start to feel unwell make sure you tell the St John Ambulance personnel as they are there to help not to judge people for their actions. The information you give them is confidential, so it is critical that if you are having an adverse reaction to drugs you seek medical aid immediately and fully disclose what you have taken. We can’t help you properly if we don’t know what you have taken – being upfront and honest may save your life.
One of the most important things to remember is just use your common sense and watch out for your mates. Look out for each other, if your mates are drinking too much alcohol or starting to exhibit any of the symptoms above, do them a favour and get some help from the St John Ambulance team.