Unprotected sex, dehydration, sunburn and diarrhoea are the top threats to the health and safety of festival goers, according to pharmacists who are urging music revellers heading to Electric Picnic this weekend to stay safe and look after their health.
Speaking today (August 31), pharmacist and member of the Irish Pharmacy Union’s Executive Committee, Ann Marie Horan, said festival goers should be especially cautious about the risks of unprotected sex.
“Our advice is to plan ahead. If you believe there is any chance of an unplanned sexual encounter, bring condoms with you. Condoms are essential to protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and, since normal oral contraception can become ineffective if the person is suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.”
Pharmacists are also advising festival goers to wash their hands as the basic hygiene of washing your hands can help reduce the risk of picking up or spreading germs that can cause sickness and diarrhoea.
“At festivals people can be a bit lax in washing their hands. Hands are the highway to the transmission and spread of bacteria and foodborne illness and it has been proven that hand washing is the simplest, most effective measure for preventing the spread of germs. So we are encouraging festival goers to wash their hands before they eat, after going to the toilet or handling rubbish. They should also bring along and use hand gel with a high alcohol content and use it regularly,” Ms. Horan highlighted.
She advised that anyone who is on prescription medication should not forget to bring it along, take it as prescribed and not to skip a dose. “It’s important to take your medication as prescribed. If you have asthma, bring your inhaler and spare cartridges, or if you are have diabetes, make sure to take your insulin and eat regularly to avoid a drop in blood sugars.
“Music festivals such as Electric Picnic are there to be enjoyed. It is important that individuals take all precautions to ensure that they have a safe and healthy festival experience,” she added.
Pharmacists have prepared these tips to cover some of the common issues that arise at these major music events.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands before you eat, after going to the toilet or handling rubbish. Bring along hand gel with a high alcohol content and use it regularly.
Make sure to bring along an adequate supply of any prescription medication you may be taking. Asthma sufferers should take preventative inhalers with them, even if they are not showing any symptoms. Anyone with an allergy to any prescription medicine, such as penicillin, should wear a bracelet or necklace stating this fact.
If you intend to be sexually active at the festival, take precautions and practice safe sex. Always use a condom to protect against STIs. Vomiting and diarrhoea can render oral contraceptives ineffective.
Apply SPF 15 or higher 20 minutes before you go out into the sun and reapply regularly. Wear a hat and sunglasses. If you suffer from cold sores, wear a lip balm with high sun protection and carry a cream to treat cold sores. Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
Stomach upsets can be common at events such as festivals where your normal dietary routine is interrupted. Ask your pharmacist about appropriate over-the-counter medicines to bring with you should this happen. It is important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration if you are suffering from diarrhoea. In some cases, rehydration sachets may be necessary.