Okay, I originally posted this last year but it was quite warmly welcomed so I'm reposting it and adding a few other bits of advice in due time:
I've been working part time in pharmacies on and off for about five years now so I just thought I'd check my tuppence worth in from a few tips I've picked up.
Here are the headings so you know where to look for something specific
Headaches and hangovers
Stomach Upset (Diarrhoea and Vomiting)
Sprains, Strains and Bruises
Drugs and Overdoses
- Simple Advice
- General Advice
DISCLAIMER: The advice offered here is only intended as a rough guide, make sure you consult your pharmacist/GP especially if you have not taken a particular medication before and seek first aid help if you have any doubts over the weekend
Headaches and hangovers:
One of the most important things you need to remember at a festival is to stay hydrated! I cannot stress this enough, heat stroke and dehydration can be very dangerous and disorientating especially in an unfamiliar festival environment. If in doubt, sip plenty of water and try to find St. John's Ambulance.
Alcohol, coffee, tea and energy drinks can all act towards dehydration so again be careful.
Paracetamol (25-40p for a pack of 16, 30-60p for a pack of 32) will probably help the most, remember it is a maximum of eight 500mg tablets in 24hrs for anyone over the age of twelve, usually one or two will do the trick for minor headaches.
If you commonly suffer from cluster headaches, tension headaches or migraines speak to a pharmacist about the best course of action for your own condition.
I'd suggest sticking to a non-drowsy one-a-day antihistamine if you suffer from hayfever. It's easier to remember in the morning and won't make you sleepy when your favourite band is on, Loratidine will do the trick and is normally available fairly cheaply, eye drops (such as Opticrom) may help if you suffer from itchy eyes but be careful if you wear contact lenses (you may have to leave the contacts out and stick to glasses for the festival).
Stomach Upset (Diarrhoea/Vomiting):
It can happen to anyone, dodgy burger from the food vans, undercooked barbecue food, living in a shanty town with 80 000 other people. If it does, don't panic, most bugs pass within 48hrs, for adults if it lasts longer than 72hrs seek medical advice, for children see a doctor if longer than 48. Make sure you remain hydrated, try and sip water as it's very important to replace lost fluids. Additionally the body loses electrolyte salts, Dioralyte sachets will help keep your strength up by replacing these salts and the blackcurrant ones don't taste too bad. Loperamide (Imodium) will help lessen diarrhoea, but as always consult your pharmacist, Generic Loperamide will cost about £2.00 whereas Imodium may be as much as 3 times that!
Sprains, Strains, Bruises:
It happens when you're intoxicated, you fall over your tent, you decide to pick a fight with the rowdy jock dressed as a banana, you step in a rabbit hole or decide that bonfire jumping is God's gift to campsite sport. If you pick up a minor injury generally speaking you can treat it yourself. Just remember the word RICE which stands for
Rest: Take it easy! No more bonfire jumping!
Ice: If you can acquire some, do! It will help take any swelling down, I'd suggest wrapping the ice in a towel to prevent cold burns. Send someone to tescos to buy ice if you've hurt your leg, walking for twenty minutes will NOT help! Only keep the ice pack on the affected area for 20 minutes at a time
Compression: A bit trickier, you can't take a support bandage for every joint but you can take a roll of bandage and safety pins which will last until you can get to on-site help, roll the bandage around the joint and pin it reasonably tight, don't cut off your circulation!
Elevation: For the first night after acquiring the injury place a pillow/rolled up hoodie under the affected joint, try and keep it above the level of your heart/torso. When sat around your campsite, legs can be propped up on triangular camping stools etc. For arms, a triangular bandage should do the trick.
Ibuprofen may help reduce swelling and pain although if you are asthmatic, allergic to aspirin, pregnant, breastfeeding, suffering from kidney heart or liver problems, consult your pharmacist
Cuts (acknowledgements to chloe_pi)
Please note: whilst in an ideal world it should only be trained first aiders who deal with this situation I realise there won't always be one around, only treat a casualty if it is safe to do so and you are confident in what you are doing.
Raise the affected area above the heart to stem the bleeding. (Hand/arm raise above head and keep there for 10 mins with the patient holding a gauze pad against the wound. Legs lie the casualty down and place a full bag or something similar sized under the legs to keep them above the heart, again applying the gauze pad/bandage to the wound) Watch out for signs of shock if they're losing a lot of blood and get help ASAP. When applying gauzes/dressings, place one on the wound and apply firm pressure, if the wound bleeds through the dressing, hold a second dressing over the top of the first, if the wound continues to bleed through the dressings remove both and use a third, if this fails you will have to use indirect pressure on the artery feeding the bleed, for the arms this is the underside of the upper arm, for the legs this is the groin area (apply pressure to the inside of the thigh, as far up the thigh as you can)
Signs of shock
- Anxiety, restlessness, altered mental state due to decreased cerebral perfusion and subsequent hypoxia.
- Hypotension due to decrease in circulatory volume.
- A rapid, weak, thready pulse due to decreased blood flow combined with tachycardia.
- Cool, clammy skin due to vasoconstriction and stimulation of vasoconstriction.
- Rapid and shallow respirations due to sympathetic nervous system stimulation and acidosis.
- Hypothermia due to decreased perfusion and evaporation of sweat.
- Thirst and dry mouth, due to fluid depletion.
- Fatigue due to inadequate oxygenation.
- Cold and mottled skin, especially extremities, due to insufficient perfusion of the skin.
- Distracted look in the eyes or staring into space, often with pupils dilated.
Okay this topic can be a little complicated so I’ll try and simplify it as much as possible.
Cover up between 11am and 3pm
Wear loose, close-knit cotton clothing
Wear an “oh-so-sexy” sunhat
If you are particularly fair-skinned, natural blondes and red-heads especially, some form of shelter from the sun may be necessary out in the arena, alternatively a high sun protection factor (SPF) sun cream should be fine. As an additional note after anecdotes from both Drunkenmunkey and Trahern, if you're bald, pay careful attention to your scalp and if you are fair skinned, spiking your hair with gel may leave your scalp very exposed so be careful!
The most recent evidence suggests that applying sun cream 15 minutes before going into the sun will provide the best protection. It is strongly recommended that you reapply after two hours as the suncream is likely to sink into lower layers of the skin. This allows the creation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) things like peroxides, free radicals and oxygens ions which can do more damage than regular sunburn alone.
What to avoid:
Suncreams with benzophenone have been tied to higher rates of skin allergy amongst users, the benzophenone has been shown absorbing through the skin and it is suspected to be the main cause.
Which factor do you need:
Always start out with a higher factor suncream and progress to a lower one. If you’re at Download from Wednesday to the Monday morning you can probably switch to a lower factor by the Saturday.
Sun Protection Factors multiply the time you’re able to spend in the sun so if you’d normally burn in 12 minutes wearing SPF 10 will let you stay in the sun for 120 minutes (or two hours) Update: Drugs and Overdoses (Suggested by the Zombie Messiah)
The simplest advice i can offer is this:
If you're going to the festival don't take drugs.
If you're going to take drugs, don't inject them.
If you're going to inject, don't share needles.
If you're going to share needles, sterilise them.
If you don't sterilise them, well, you're f*cked. See a doctor.
General advice (courtesy of she's not there)
As for the drugs thing ([she's not there] works in alcohol and drugs education) - basic tips can be found all over the internet, but my advice (assuming you're going to take them no matter what, you silly person etc) would be:
Don't mix your drugs (that includes alcohol!)
Don't try anything new (that includes buying stuff off randoms that claims to be something else)
Hallucinogens are not your friend in an unfamiliar environment- if you are going to do them try and have at least one "straight" friend to be your spotter.
Know your limits, and don't feel obliged to "keep up" with everyone else.
Have a break - chill out, just drink water, i.e. don't be constantly on something or other.
Don't get in such a state that could allow you to be taken advantage of, and don't take things from strangers (especially if you're on your own).
Water is your friend - if you're taking ecstasy the advice is to SIP a pint of water over the course of each hour. Leah Betts died from over-hydration folks, don't go overboard.
Seek help if you're in trouble, don't wait just because you've done something illegal - medical people aren't going to care, they just want to make sure you're safe.
DON'T GET TOO WASTED AND FORGET TO GO AND SEE BANDS/WHERE YOUR TENT IS/WHAT YOUR NAME IS/THE WHOLE WEEKEND!! Overdoses (immediate care)
If a drug overdose is discovered or suspected, and the person is unconscious, having convulsions, or is not breathing, call for emergency help immediately. If the person who took the drug is not having symptoms, do not wait to see if symptoms develop; get to a first aid point as soon as possible. Providing as much information as possible to the medical professionals onsite can help determine what the next course of action should be.
The first aiders, paramedics, and A & E staff will want to know:
* What drug(s) were taken? Try to locate the drug's container!
* How much of the drug was taken?
* When was the drug taken?
* Was the drug taken with alcohol or any other drugs or chemicals?
* What is the age of the patient?
* What symptoms are the patient experiencing?
* Is the patient conscious?
* Is the patient breathing?
They may recommend trying to get the patient to vomit. Warm, salt water may induce vomiting. Alternatively activated Charcoal may neutralise the drug, only take this course of action on the advice of medical professionals. Other Stuff
If you're asthmatic for the love of Cthulu do NOT forget your inhaler! Carry a spare if you have one.
Make sure a mate (or two) is aware of any regular medication you're on,.. it could save your life if the worst happens.
As pointed out by Mich, it's also a good idea to let people know if you're allergic to anything and if you use one to let your mates know where you keep your Epipen, this applies to anything you might need in a hurry, reliever inhalers (the blue ones), GTN sprays, etc. etc.
Carry a well stocked First Aid kit, Including non-alcohol antiseptic wipes (thanks for reminding me chloe_pi, lots of wipes will be useful, a pack of 20 or so should do, plus they come in handy if you don't have time to wash your hands etc.), antiseptic spray, assorted plasters, a triangular bandage, steri-strips, regular bandage plus safety pins, a couple of small Mepore Ultra (waterproof) dressings. A leaflet on First Aid may come in useful as a reminder by try to leave First Aid to people trained to do it as you may do more harm than good.
Keep all tablets in their original blister packs, otherwise security will be asking why you have a dozen or so white/pink pills in your bag!
A good multivitamin tablet might help keep your energy levels up especially as festival diets are notoriously bad!
Once again, drink plenty of water, during high summer, 2-4 litres per day should be about right depending on how much you are sweating. Try to drink one pint of water to every pint of alcohol.
Feel free to leave questions you may have, I can offer basic advice but if I think it's out of my league i will be sending you straight to the doctor [8D]
Peace guys and look after yourselves!
<message edited by Valiant on 08 February 2009 09:14>