Festival Health & Wellness Tips From A Paramedic
Stay mindful with our tips for your next festival with our Festival Health & Wellness 101 guide
Music festivals can be one of the most incredible experiences of your lifetime. Combining epic performances, cool art, and a community of like-minded individuals there to leave the real world behind for a few fleeting days can be exactly what the doctor ordered to keep your head clear and your mind free. That can quickly change if you don’t take care of yourself, so we compiled a list of health and wellness tips to stay safe.
Festivals are not without their risks, however. Endless hours of dancing in the hot sun can really take a toll on your body, no matter what kind of shape you’re in.
My husband spent a few years working as a paramedic at festivals like Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening, and North Coast in Chicago. He’s seen his fair share of injuries, from bruised and blistered feet to full-on alcohol poisoning, but there is no two ways about it – ending up in the medical tent is a crummy way to spend your day.
Fortunately, staying out of the medical tent and keeping your festival experience to the main grounds isn’t as hard as it sounds. So, I picked his brain to give you a few simple tips to ensure that you stay on your feet and make the best of your weekend.
#1: Drink water. Lots and lots of water.
This is number one on every single festival’s health & wellness list for a reason. Dancing in the hot summer sun will really take it out of you, and those effects are magnified if you indulge in alcohol or other recreational drugs. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least one bottle of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. If you’re indulging in other things, it’s best to stick to water only, and make sure that you’re constantly drinking.
Most festivals offer free water refill stations. We recommend purchasing a hydration pack like a Camelbak to keep a large amount of water on you at all times.
#2: Wear sunblock.
There is nothing worse than getting to day two of your festival and being completely fried from the sun the day before. Sunblock will help to protect your skin from sunburn, and will also help to prevent skin cancer. Make sure you apply consistently throughout the day – most sunblock is not intended to last for more than a few hours, and places where things like backpack straps rub against your skin are particularly susceptible. You’ll thank yourself years from now if you keep your skin healthy as well.
#3: Know your limits.
Listen: we’re well aware that many people like to indulge in various legal and illegal drugs at music festivals. While we certainly aren’t promoting drug use, if you do intend to partake, be smart. If you’re drinking, pace yourself, and try to avoid drinking too much during the hottest part of the day. If you’re doing other things, know what you’re taking by buying a test kit, don’t mix and match, and don’t take too much of anything all at once without knowing the effects first.
#4: Wear good shoes.
True story: more people end up in the medical tent because of blisters due to bad shoes than for any other reason. Smart festival-goers know that a good pair of shoes is worth its weight in gold. Good socks go a long way, too, especially if you’re at a rainy festival – make sure you have plenty of spares, and avoid cotton if you can. And maybe leave the super cute heels at home.
#5: Replace electrolytes.
Just as important as drinking water, make sure that you are replacing your electrolytes. When you sweat, your body depletes your reserves, and drinking tons of water without replacing them can lead to electrolyte washout in some rare cases. Simple remedies for this include drinks like Gatorade or Powerade, Nuun tabs, or coconut water. I have friends that swear by Pedialyte, too.
#6: Keep track of your friends.
It’s a tale as old as time: some poor, tripped out hippie gets picked up by the medical staff because they appear lost sitting underneath that tree, and their friends are nowhere to be found. While we are absolutely not advocating avoiding the medical tent if you need to go, in many cases, having a friend to guide you back to the campsite might be all you need. Once the medical staff picks you up, though, you have to stay with them – so stick to your friends whenever possible
#7: Know medical professionals are there to help you.
Don’t avoid going to the medical tent if you don’t feel well – the medical team is there to make sure that you are safe, above all else. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms or if you don’t feel good over an extended period of time, head over there for some actual help. Your health is important to them. You only have one body – if you care for it, you can rave for many months and years to come!
Photo Credit: Insomniac Events
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