How festival fun can lead to health woes: insights from a new study

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Research involving 1,000 festival enthusiasts has highlighted the various ailments and accidents they encounter whilst soaking up an action-packed music agenda, with fatigue and exhaustion taking the top spot at 24 per cent. A significant number, 21 per cent to be precise, suffer from sunburn, and a notable 11 per cent come back nursing a cold or the flu.

On the more severe side, one in 20 attendees that's six per cent will suffer from diarrhoea, and four per cent will endure a sickness bug. Equally concerning is that the same amount of festival-goers report complications with their bowels after deliberately avoiding the festival toilets for the entire event.

The survey also revealed that 31 per cent of those immersed in the festive atmosphere tend to neglect their health, with 21 per cent confessing they feel 'completely broken' when the partys over. Consequently, it takes the average attendee a minimum of two days to recuperate and return to their pre-festival condition.

Sharing her expertise on the issue, Dr Elizabeth Rogers, clinical director at Bupa Health Clinics, which sponsored the study and produced a guide on preventing and addressing these common health issues, asserts: "Festivals are brilliant fun and dancing to music with your friends in the sun is a great way to boost your mental health.

"As well as making sure you're having a good time, it's really important that people are taking precautions to look after their health while they are there, or they may find they become unwell during or when they get home.

“Britain’s weather is famously changeable, and it’s not surprising that people are often caught out by unexpected sunshine after packing raincoats and wellies. Which is why so many of the issues people struggle with tend to be heat-related - like sunstroke, dehydration or sunburn."

The findings come after fans fell ill with symptoms of food poisoning at Download Festival earlier this month. It also emerged 37 per cent of those who struggle in the days after will book extra time off work when the festival is over, to give their bodies time to recover. With four in 10 needing two days off work afterwards just to return to feeling normal.

Worryingly, many are doing little to prevent the issues and injuries, with only 13 per cent always wearing suncream throughout the festival, and another 38 per cent only sometimes remembering. Of those who don't, 29 per cent forget to bring it with them and 12 per cent worry it will make them dirtier and stickier than they need to be.

It also emerged a quarter of festival-goers who drink will consume six or more alcoholic beverages each day they're there - adding up to at least 18 in total over a three-day event. But they will also only get an average of four hours and 49 minutes of sleep each night they're there - far below the recommended amount.

And only 40 per cent regularly put on hand sanitiser, 18 per cent take a first-aid kit, and just 15 per cent consider their festival diet to be 'balanced'. As a result, 44 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, have had to visit a medical tent at a music festival due to some kind of illness or injury.

Dr Elizabeth Rogers added: "From diet to sleep, to water intake, and specific health issues like ear ache due to loud music and sore feet from walking and dancing, festivals really can play havoc with our bodies. My advice to all those off to festivals this summer is to always be prepared and try to remember to stay hydrated, protect your skin and ears to prevent long-term damage and try to get enough sleep, especially if you are there for the whole event - and don't forget to enjoy it."

The top health concerns Brits come back from festivals with include:

  1. Fatigue/ exhaustion

  2. Sunburn

  3. Aching feet

  4. Lost voice

  5. Dehydration

  6. Back ache

  7. Cold/ flu

  8. Sun/ heat stroke

  9. Blisters

  10. Feeling low

  11. Diarrhoea

  12. Anxiety

  13. A cut/ scrape

  14. Tinnitus

  15. Hearing loss

  16. Impacted bowels from not using the toilets

  17. Vomiting bug

  18. Pulled muscle

  19. Food poisoning

  20. Alcohol poisoning