Eight health hazard warnings issued to anyone going to Glastonbury 2024

Coldplay and others will headline this year's Glastonbury
-Credit: (Image: Anna Barclay/PA Wire)

Festival-goers heading to Glastonbury in the next few days will have watching Dua Lipa, Coldplay, and SZA live at the top of their list. Of course, finding a functioning toilet will be a priority too.

However, it's important to remember a few additional health-related matters. The iconic music festival is not just a haven for unforgettable performances but also presents a variety of health hazards.

From heatstroke and tinnitus to food poisoning, these are real concerns for those descending on Worthy Farm in Pilton come Wednesday. With many fans having looked forward to the iconic event for months, it would ruin the experience to walk away injured or ill.

Dehydration is a significant risk, particularly given the British penchant for enjoying a cold beer in the sun at such events. Medical professionals are stressing the importance of staying hydrated throughout the five-day festival.

"Being outdoors in the heat can be physically demanding, especially if you're on your feet, dancing," explains Nick Higginson, CEO of Phoenix Health and Safety. "If you combine this with drinking alcohol, it can easily lead to exhaustion."

To avoid missing out on your favourite acts due to dehydration, Higginson suggests bringing along a large reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day.

Hearing protection can save your ears from ringing at Glastonbury
Hearing protection can save your ears from ringing at Glastonbury -Credit:© 2024 PA Media, All Rights Reserved

Thousands of attendees are excited to see amazing performances from the likes of Dua Lipa and Shania Twain. But, the thumping bass during these sets could lead to tinnitus.

The NHS defines tinnitus as hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than an outside source. "Prolonged exposure to loud music can permanently damage the delicate structures of the inner ear, and cause hearing loss and tinnitus," warns Hannah Samuels, an audiologist at Boots Hearingcare.

She advises using hearing protection such as ear plugs or muffs "as these lower the level of sound, but still enable you to hear everything and it can often sound better, too".

Another concern at crowded festivals like Glastonbury is athlete's foot, as these environments are hotspots for bacteria. Dr Adam Staten, clinical director at One Day Tests and NHS GP, recommends that attendees keep their feet as clean as possible to prevent such infections.

"Athlete's foot is caused by a fungal infection which thrives in moist conditions," explains Staten. To avoid this, keep your feet clean and dry, and let them breathe whenever possible.

Glastonbury always offers a wide array of street food stalls, but festival-goers should be cautious about any food that's been left out in the sun for too long. "Food poisoning is caused by eating food contaminated with viruses or bacteria," says Staten.

"Any cooked food you eat should be piping hot when served and you should avoid eating food that has been left to stand out."

"Bacteria grows quicker when the weather is warm, so if the sun is out, take extra care around riskier foods such as seafood and chicken," advises Cheryl Lythgoe, nurse and matron at Benenden Health. "Vomiting and/or diarrhoea can lead to dangerous dehydration surprisingly quickly, so stay alert to this possibility."

Food poisoning can spoil your Glastonbury experience quickly - but it's easily avoided
Food poisoning can spoil your Glastonbury experience quickly - but it's easily avoided -Credit:© 2024 PA Media, All Rights Reserved

Itchy insect bites are a nuisance that campers would rather avoid. "Insects tend to aim for parts of the body where blood vessels are closest to the surface, so they often bite around the wrist and ankles," says Dr Staten.

"Keeping these areas covered is a good way to avoid bites, but might not be practical on a hot day in which case, your best option is to regularly apply insect repellent, or wear a sunscreen that contains repellent."

While sandals may seem appealing, Higginson suggests prioritising ankle protection: "While it's fun to put on colourful outfits, wearing unsupportive shoes like sandals can easily lead to sprained ankles, which could result in the rest of your weekend being a lot less enjoyable," he warns.

"Ensure you're dressed in comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement, along with closed-toe shoes with good traction and support, to help prevent slips, trips and falls on uneven ground."

Just in time for Glastonbury 2024, bright blue skies have made their appearance and temperatures are expected to hit a high of 25C in Pilton next week. While many festival-goers may be eager to work on their tan, health professionals have issued reminders about the importance of protecting skin from harmful UV rays.

A photo of three sunburnt men at Glastonbury.
A photo of three sunburnt men at Glastonbury. -Credit:© 2024 PA Media, All Rights Reserved

The NHS suggests using a sun cream with a minimum SPF 30, and 4 or 5 star ultraviolet A (UVA) protection. "If you do get sunburnt, seek shade, cool your skin with tepid water, take painkillers and apply calamine lotion or after-sun cream," recommends Lythgoe.

Those attending the festival have been warned to stay alert and keep hydrated to prevent sunburn escalating into heat exhaustion or even more seriously, heatstroke. According to the NHS, symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headaches, nausea and excessive sweating. However, if these symptoms persist beyond 30 minutes, it could indicate heatstroke.

Dr Ross Perry, GP and medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics, warns: "If you are experiencing heat exhaustion for an extended period of time, it can lead to heatstroke, which can be extremely dangerous. If you think you might have heat exhaustion or heatstroke, you need to speak to a GP immediately."

Festival-goers requiring medical assistance should make their way to one of the medical tents located throughout the site.