Health and well-being

15 easy tips to make the most of the summer festival season

4 min

Summertime is finally here and that means festival season in Quebec is upon us! Whether you're planning to join in the Saint-Jean festivities, attend Osheaga, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Festival d'été de Québec or even the Festival western de St-Tite, you'll need to be well prepared to make sure that nothing spoils your fun!

We all know the drill - festival crowds are huge, the lines for admission, refreshments and toilets are endless, and the heat and sun can get pretty intense. Throw in humidity in the mix and you could be faced with a number of ailments: dehydration, dizziness, heatstroke, cramps or even loss of consciousness. 

Although the elderly or those living with diabetes or chronic cardiovascular, renal or respiratory disease are more vulnerable, no one is immune to the health problems that can occur during outdoor summer festivals.

Tips to stay safe and healthy during summer festivals
  1. Keep well hydrated at summer festivals! That's the most important tip to follow when you're going to a summer festival where you'll be spending hours in the sun. Bear in mind that alcohol greatly increases the risk of dehydration, so make sure you drink water between each alcoholic drink and/or every 30 minutes. The price of bottled water at festivals is typically astronomical so make sure you bring a bottle with you. Although you may have to empty it on arrival, there are often water points on festival sites where you can refill it.

  2. Pack snacks! Avoid standing in line for 45 minutes for a dodgy hot dog. Pack a variety of heat-resistant snacks, such as peanut butter sandwiches, granola or protein bars, or fruit and vegetables that will not only satisfy your cravings but also keep you hydrated.

  3. Be sun safe! A bad sunburn and heatstroke can ruin your day at a festival. Apply a sun cream with a high protection factor (SPF) - 30 and over - and reapply every two hours during the outdoor festival. And don't forget to bring a hat and sunglasses. If possible, settle down in a shady spot.

  4. Wear appropriate clothing! Even if the forecast doesn't predict very warm weather, keep in mind that thousands of festival-goers huddled together will produce their fair share of heat! Best to go for light, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing. You can always bring a warm shirt or coat in case the weather drops throughout the day.

  5. Think about your back! Sitting on the festival ground for the first hour is fine. However, it will surely not take long before your back, legs and buttocks start crying out for mercy. If you can, take a portable chair with you or even a blanket on which you can lie or stretch.

  6. Think about your feet! Summer festival grounds are often huge. Put comfort before looks and choose comfortable shoes that will allow you to walk and dance all day. And don't forget to take some band-aids with you in case you get blisters.

  7. Identify your main areas! As soon as you get to the venue, find the exit points in case you have to leave the festival quickly. Make sure you also know where the first-aid tent is. That way, if anything happens (knock on wood!), you'll know where to go straight away. And just to be on the safe side, carry identification and your health insurance card with you.

  8. Wash your hands! Hundreds, even thousands of people together means millions of germs being spread around! If you can't wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water during the festival, make sure you at least have some hydro-alcoholic gel with you that you can apply throughout the event.

  9. Make a plan with your friends! There's strength in numbers! Stay with your friends at festivals. Make sure your cell phone is charged in case you get lost or need to make a call. Also agree on a meeting place at a certain time or in case you are unable to reach each other by phone.   

  10. Keep an eye on your bottles! Unfortunately, we've all heard horror stories of people being unknowingly drugged. Never leave your drink or bottle unattended to avoid someone slipping in a drug or other substance. If you have any doubt that your bottle has been tampered with, throw it away.

  11. Don't forget your medication! Always carry your prescription medicines with you, as well as over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen and allergy medication. And don't forget your mosquito repellent! 

What to do at a summer festival if you feel unwell or see someone in distress 

  1. Try to find a secluded, quiet spot. If necessary, lie down on the ground and elevate your legs.

  2. Go to the first aid tent right away if you can, or ask someone to go and get help.

  3. If you see somebody who has lost consciousness, position them on their side while you wait for help. If the person has fallen and is unconscious, do not try to lift them up or put any support under their head. Create a clear area around the person and stay by their side until the first-aid team arrives.

  4. If first-aid staff are not available, you can always call 911 in case of emergency or go straight to the emergency.

By following these tips, you'll be ready to enjoy summer festivals safely and in top health. Let the dancing, music and fun begin!

Planning a festival tour and want some health tips before you go? Remember that with the Bonjour-santé membership, members have unlimited access to our team of nurses by e-consult who can offer information and advice! Members can log in to their Bonjour-santé account to access this service.

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