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Make the Right Call: Your essential festival guide for health and wellbeing

10:00 10 July 2014

Last year

Last year's Latitude Festival

This week, for our Make the Right Call campaign, which aims to direct people towards the right healthcare provider whether it is a GP, pharmacy, NHS 111 or A&E, we focus on health and wellbeing at festivals. Health correspondent Lauren Everitt reports

The 2014 music festival season is well under way, with Suffolk’s very own Latitude festival set to begin next week.

Having fun and a good time is great for our health and wellbeing – and by making sure you are prepared and ready you could prevent yourself having an unexpected injury or illness which could turn the good times bad.

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Having fun is one of the best medicines you can give yourself.

“Music festivals are a great environment to let your hair down, just be careful you don’t overdo things. By taking a few simple precautions this could be a summer you’ll remember forever, rather than one you’d rather forget.”

ALCOHOL

It’s all too easy to get carried away with the booze, especially if you’re partying with friends, when you can lose track of how much you have consumed.

Alcohol is a diuretic (meaning it removes fluid from your body), so if you drink too much you could end up dehydrated.

Dehydration leads to many of the symptoms of hangovers such as a splitting headache, dizziness and sickness.

The last thing you want is to miss your favourite band because of a raging hangover so:

n Drink plenty of water so you don’t become dehydrated

n Drink water or non-fizzy drinks between each alcoholic drink. Fizzy drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into the body

n Don’t drink on an empty stomach – try eating a meal which contains carbohydrates such as rice or pasta – this will slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol.

FIRST AID

If you use prescription medicines don’t forget to take a supply with you.

Minor injury and illness can happen at any time, which is why it makes sense to be prepared. By taking a well-stocked mini first-aid kit with you, you will be able to quickly deal with cuts and grazes, headaches and upset tummies. It needn’t cost much to buy the essentials and they won’t take up much space in your bag, simply have a chat with your local pharmacist who’ll be happy to advise you. Consider the following items:

n Sticking plasters to deal with cuts and grazes

n A small bottle of disinfectant to clean wounds

n Paracetamol for headaches

n Anti-diarrhoea tablets

SEXual health

Having unprotected sex could mean you leaving a music festival with more than a nice tune in your head.

Unprotected sex can both increase the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis and lead to unwanted pregnancy. Having a sexual transmitted disease isn’t fun and could lead to infertility.

One of the best things sexually active young people under 25 can do is get tested for chlamydia. Most people won’t know they have it, yet it is estimated 1 in 12 sexually active young people may have the infection. Getting tested is easy. If you are under 25 and sexually active you can request a free testing kit to be posted to you by:

n Texting KIT to 84010 (text name, address, age and sex)

n Calling the Chlamydia Screening Office on 01473 228723

n Emailing suffolkcso@nhs.net

n Find out more at www.amiclear.com

n The testing kit will be sent in a plain envelope

Hygiene

You can protect yourself from contracting or spreading germs that cause diarrhoea or upset tummies by washing your hands. Bring a supply of antibacterial hand gel and wet wipes so you can wash your hands after using the loo and before you eat.

SUN PROTECTION

Take a supply of sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15. Applying the sunscreen regularly will help protect you from harmful rays which can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes too. Sunglasses offer the best protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can also provide valuable protection and help prevent the sun’s rays reaching your face and eyes.

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