Festival first aid tips

Festival goer first aid tips

It’s that time of the year again when the tents are pitched and the wellies are on.

Whether you’re heading to V Festival, Wilderness Festival or just simply setting up camp amongst nature with friends and a drink in hand, we want you to stay safe, so here’s our top first aid tips to keep in mind.

Keep hydratedKeep hydrated

Britain’s weather has spiked with the newspapers claiming that temperatures have risen higher than in the Sahara desert. And your number one priority here is to drink water – especially if you’re spending your days burning those calories dancing, beer in hand.

Alcohol lowers the body’s anti-diuretic hormone, which in turn causes dehydration. Dehydration also happens when someone loses more fluid than they take in, especially if it’s really hot and sweaty outside, so make sure you’re sipping on H20 at regular intervals.

How to spot dehydration:

There are four key things to look for if someone is suffering from dehydration:

  • • Headaches and light headedness
  • • Dry mouth, eyes and lips
  • • Small amounts of dark urine
  • • Muscle cramps

How to treat dehydration:

  • • Help the person sit down and give them plenty of water to drink.
  • • Giving them an oral rehydration solution to drink will help replace salt and other minerals which they’ve lost – you can buy this in sachets from any pharmacy.
  • • If they have any painful cramps, encourage them to rest, help them stretch and massage their muscles that hurt.
  • • Keep checking how they’re feeling – if they still feel unwell once they’re rehydrated then encourage them to see a doctor straight away.

If left untreated, someone with dehydration can develop heat exhaustion, which is more serious. It is important to make sure they rehydrate as soon as possible.

Read more about dehydration in our first aid advice section.

Stay cool

Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of salt and water from the body, usually through excessive sweating. It develops slowly and usually happens to people who aren’t used to hot, humid weather. If you’re at a festival and it’s very hot, it’s easy to suffer from heat exhaustion.

A dangerous and common cause of heat exhaustion is when the body produces more heat than it can cope with. This can happen when someone takes a non-prescription drug, like ecstasy, which can stop the body from regulating its temperature properly. If someone gets hot and sweats a lot from dancing, they may also overheat and become dehydrated, causing heat exhaustion.

How to spot heat exhaustion:

  • • Headache
  • • Dizziness and confusion
  • • Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • • Sweating with pale clammy skin
  • • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • • Fast, weakening pulse and shallow breathing

How to treat heat exhaustion:

  • • Help take them to a cool place and get them to lie down with their legs raised.
  • • Then give them lots of water. You can also give them a sports drink like Lucozade or a oral rehydration solution to help replace the salt and fluid they have lost by sweating.
  • • Keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.
  • • Even if they recover quickly, suggest they see a doctor.
  • • If they seem to be getting worse, place them into the recovery position and call 999/112 for an ambulance.

While waiting, keep checking their breathing, pulse and level of response.

Read more about heat exhaustion in our first aid advice section.

How to spot signs for alcohol poisoning:

Alcohol poisoningIt's important to stay safe. If someone has got alcohol poisoning, spot these signs:

  • • Strong smell of alcohol
  • • Confusion and slurred speech
  • • Vomiting
  • • Reddened and moist face
  • • Deep, noisy breathing and pounding pulse
  • • Unresponsiveness

How to treat alcohol poisoning:

  • • Reassure and cover them with a coat or blanket for warmth.
  • • Check breathing, responsiveness and pulse.
  • • Do not make them vomit as this could affect their breathing. Instead call 999 or 112 for medical help.

If they’re unresponsive check for shallow breathing, a weak and/or rapid pulse, widened pupils that react poorly to light. If they’re breathing normally, but aren’t fully responsive, place them in the recovery position.

How to spot signs for drug poisoning:

Poisons are substances that can cause temporary or permanent damage if too much is absorbed by the body. Someone can get drug poisoning from taking an overdose of prescribed drugs, over the counter drugs or illegal drugs.

The effects will be different depending on the type of drug and how the person has taken it. Here are some of the signs to look out for:

  • • Stomach pains 
  • • Nausea and vomiting 
  • • Sleepiness and confusion
  • • Hyperactive behaviour
  • • Sweating
  • • Shaking hands and/or hallucinations
  • • Unusually slow or fast pulse
  • • Unusually small or large pupils
  • • Needle marks

Treating drug poisoning

  • • Call 999 or 111 for medical help. Ensure they are comfortable and ask what they’ve taken, gathering as much information as you can.
  • • Look for packages or containers that can identify the drugs. 
  • • Check breathing, pulse and responsiveness.
  • • If they become unresponsive, open their airway and prepare to treat them accordingly. Don’t force them to vomit, but give them a bag or container to be sick in. Hand this to the ambulance drivers as this could help them identify the drugs taken.

Read more about poisons in our first aid advice section.

Insect bites and stings

Being out in the wilderness it's possible that you or someone else can get an insect bite or sting of some kind. They are usually more painful rather than dangerous. Here are the signs to spot:

  • • If a sting is visible, carefully scrape it off sideways with your fingernail or a credit card – do not use tweezers.
  • • There will probably be redness and swelling around the sting, so raise the affected part of the body and apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean cloth.
  • • For stings to the throat or mouth, there’s a chance that swelling could block the airway. To minimise this, give the person an ice cube to suck or a cold glass of water to sip. If you notice swelling to the face or neck or any difficulty breathing, call 999 for an ambulance immediately. 

Read more about bites and stings in our first aid advice section.