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Protect your health at a festival

Protect your health at a festival
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Travelling to attend a festival? Here’s how to stay well

A music or cultural festival is an exhilarating experience, and travelling to see a special band or performer will leave you with life-long memories. But as with any crowded event, it’s crucial to protect your health.

Get vaccinated against meningitis before attending a festival

Outbreaks of meningitis and other diseases spread via respiratory droplets are associated with crowded events. You can protect yourself to a degree by masking up; but vaccines also offer good protection. Before you attend a festival, check that you are up to date with your vaccine schedule – including shots for flu, MMR and covid. To ensure you get maximum protection from your vaccines, you should attend your first travel health appointment six to eight weeks before departure. It’s quick and easy to make a travel health appointment at Canadian Travel Clinics’ state-of-the-art centers.

Drink safe water at a music festival

To get the most out of a music festival, stay hydrated. Check whether you’re allowed to bring in your own bottles of water; and if not, ask the organizer what arrangements they have for you to access safe drinking water.

While we’re on the subject of water, festival toilet facilities are notorious for being unhygienic, so consider bringing your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Washing your hands frequently will also reduce your exposure to diseases like flu that are carried by respiratory droplets.

Be aware of sunburn at a music festival

when you’re having fun enjoying the spectacle of a music event, it’s easy to lose track of time and to ignore the physical sensations of sunburn and even heat stroke.

Seek shade in the hottest part of the day, particularly if you’re not used to high temperatures. Bring clothes that are cool but provide good coverage, and wear a sun hat. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin, and top it up throughout your day at the festival.

Bear in mind that some meds, including certain antimalarials, can make you more susceptible to sunburn at outdoor events like festivals.

We have an article about sun safety that has more information, or you can ask for advice at your travel health appointment.

Avoid insect and mosquito bites at outdoor events

Insects and mosquitoes carry some unpleasant diseases that can make you very unwell, including malaria and Japanese encephalitis. While malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations offer some protection, it’s not complete protection; and insects do carry some diseases that aren’t vaccine-preventable. Not only that, but insect and mosquito bites are also uncomfortable in themselves. So you’ll want to take steps to avoid bug bites spoiling your festival experience. Use an insect repellent, and wear clothing with good coverage. Learn more about avoiding insect bites with our article.

Stay safe in a crowd

At any crowded event, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings. Thieves may be operating, but occasionally, a crowd can be dangerous in itself if it is not well controlled. The Centers for Disease Control has some advice for travellers planning to attend a mass gathering, including tips on staying safe in a crowd.

Get insured for travel to a festival

It’s really important to get travel insurance for your trip abroad. Your normal Canadian health insurance won’t cover you on vacation. Getting healthcare when you’re unwell can be pricey, so travel health insurance will make sure you’re not left with a bill for meds and treatment. General travel insurance can also help if you are a victim of crime.

Plan ahead so you can relax and soak up the music

You’ll make the best memories if you can relax and focus on the stage, so take these simple steps ahead of time to protect your health and you’ll be free to soak up the atmosphere during the festival.