Summer festival safety advice
NHS 24’s Medical Director, Professor George Crooks, OBE, is urging music lovers going to T in the Park this weekend to think ahead and look after their health.
Professor Crooks said: “Summer festivals are great places to meet people and enjoy music with friends but try and remember to pack a few small items with you in case you do become unwell. Take some over the counter medication with you for stomach upsets or diarrhoea and take a simple painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. It is also really important to have sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and antiseptic hand gel is always handy to have at outdoor events.
“Plan ahead and take some condoms with you to protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Also tampons, wet wipes and hay fever medication – if you are a sufferer – will always come in handy over the weekend. Don’t forget to take your asthma inhaler or any prescription medicine you need with you and keep it handy.”
Festival goers are reminded not to ruin the weekend for themselves and others by drinking far too much too quickly. Try alternating soft drinks or water for alcoholic ones on a regular basis over the day and don’t forget to eat regularly. You don’t want to miss out on seeing your favourite bands by feeling unwell with the effects of too much alcohol.
Professor Crooks advised: If youdo become ill, go with a friend to the nearest First Aid area. Remember there is safety in numbers. Never leave your drink unattended, never leave friends on their own and don’t wander off by yourself. Organise a meeting point if you get split up and stay with people you know.“
By taking simple steps, you can help minimise or even prevent minor health problems from ruining your weekend. Stay safe and have a happy and healthy time at T in the Park.
For further summer health advice go towww.nhsinform.co.uk
And Police Scotland reinforce the safety message:
Keeping your valuables safe
Make sure you know where your valuables are at all times. Leave anything you can do without at home. Do you really need to take an expensive camera. iPod, iPad or MP3 player with you? If you do have to take them, make good use of locker facilities if they are available at the festival site, knowing your valuables are safe inside will give you peace of mind. If you need to carry them, secure your valuables in a zipped or fastened pocket. Pickpockets often use the cover of large crowds to commit crime so be vigilant.
Keep your mobile phone safe and charged up, most festival sites provide facilities to charge your phone. Before you go to the festival, make sure it’s registered with your network operator. Keep a separate note of your phone’s unique IMEI number. Ensure your phone has a ‘Find Me’ Application installed that can remotely show the location of the device should it be stolen and know how to remotely lock the phone.
Input an ICE – In Case of Emergency – contact number into your phone before you go, should you become unwell or unable to use your phone the emergency services will be able to contact a nominated person on your behalf.
Tickets and Money
Keep your cash and cards in two places on you, for example, some in your purse/wallet and the rest in a zipped pocket. If you lose some money, you will still have the rest, likewise for your ticket, it can be devastating and will end your weekend if it is lost or stolen. Keep it safe.
Tents can be easily entered as they generally have few security features. Please make an effort to take valuables with you when you leave your tent, again make good use of locker facilities to keep valuables secure. Introduce yourself to the people camping nearby and/or regular campsite staff. This will enable you and others to quickly identify anyone unfamiliar hanging around your campsite, although don’t be tempted to trust your valuables with people that you don’t know.
Padlocks on your tent zips can often draw more attention to your tent and give potential thieves the impression that you have valuables inside. A determined criminal will get into your tent whether you use a padlock or not, so the best advice is to take your valuable items with you when you leave your campsite.
When you arrive at the festival site, or ideally before you go, make sure you know how you can report any suspicious or criminal behaviour on site. If you become a victim or witness anything criminal, report it immediately to Police, site staff or a steward. You may not want to get involved, but think about what you’d like someone else to do if it was happening to you or your property.
Get to know your surroundings, when you arrive, make sure you know exactly where your camping area is and how to find it. Identify a landmark nearby or memorise the campsite’s name and check where the nearest first aid and fire safety points are.
When it gets dark, try to use main thoroughfares and well-lit areas of the site and stay with your friends, you can explore the darker, quieter areas during the day.
If you require regular medication, make sure you have enough with you and keep it safe in a locker. Be prepared for all types of weather, sunscreen, midge repellent, welly boots and waterproofs may all be required.
Know your limits
Remember; alcohol can impair your judgement and coupled with darkness and unfamiliar surroundings can make you more vulnerable. Drink in moderation, sip on non-alcoholic drinks in between drinks, stick with the people you know and look after your friends. Don’t go off on your own with people you don’t know or have just met.
Possession of controlled drugs and supplying anyone else with drugs is illegal. Festivals organisers adopt a zero tolerance approach to illegal drugs and work alongside the police to tackle this criminal activity. If you are caught you will be prosecuted, don’t take the chance.
New Psychoactive Substances
These substances are known by a variety of names and have been talked about in newspapers and on the TV regularly during the last 12 months. The term ‘New Psychoactive Substance’ originates from the European Union and relates to new drugs that are made by mixing chemicals. The common street name you will have heard is Legal Highs.
Calling these substances Legal Highs is confusing it suggests that they are safe and always legal they are not.
There is no way of knowing what chemicals are in these substances or how unwell they might make you feel or what effect they will have on your body.
Some NPS are described as being ‘herbal’ with claims that they are naturally occurring or grown. The reality is often they are no more than plant material which are sprayed or soaked in a chemical solution. As with all NPS unless you have access to a laboratory it cannot be said with any certainty what they contain.
Generally they come as white powder, or a variety of different coloured tablets, they can also be available as small capsules similar in size to normal medication. The packaging can be colourful and attractive with hundreds of different names such as Mind Candy, Gogaine, Super Doves and Diablo. To hide what is in it the packaging often has small print on it with phrases such as Research Chemical, Not For Human Consumption, Bath Salts, Plant Food and Novelty Collectors Item
Research by Government scientists has shown that some of these substances actually contain harmful chemicals and controlled drugs that mean that you might even get a criminal record if caught by the Police if in possession of these. Like other controlled drugs these powders and tablets can be mixed with other substances to make it look like you are getting more. These mixers are known as adulterants and can be substances such as benzocaine, used by dentists, creatine, used by body builders and caffeine, found in energy drinks.
In the short term they can affect different people in different ways. More and more people are going to hospital after taking these substances with specific symptoms such as nose bleeds, bleeding tongues, sickness and diahorrea, black outs, short term memory loss, panic attacks and severe mood swings: some NPS may have been responsible for deaths.
So get the message – have fun, but stay safe!