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Festival essentials: What to bring to manage hay fever, the sun and your health

Hindsight isn’t much help when you’re at a festival with a sore, sunburned face and a headache - so planning ahead is key. As well as glitter and outfit options, it’s important to pack right to protect your health so you can fully enjoy the festivities. Whether you're at Glastonbury, Leeds or Reading Festival or any other one, here are the essentials to bring with you.

Hay fever and allergies

If you struggle with hay fever, spending a weekend in the middle of a field is probably going to make your symptoms worse. To manage hay fever at a festival, remember to pack antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops.

A small tin of vaseline is also a good idea, as you can put it around your nostrils to trap the pollen to stop it from getting up your nose. It also helps to wash your hands and face regularly with water to remove pollen or dirt particles which can make the itching and discomfort worse.

Insect repellent

Being outdoors means dealing with insects too. To reduce the chance of bug bites, pack insect repellent. Bite and sting relief medications - such as hydrocortisone cream - can ease the itch and soreness if you do get bitten.

It’s also handy to bring antiseptic wipes and plasters for cuts and scrapes to prevent them from getting infected.

Pain relief

Too much fun can lead to various aches and pains, so bring pain relief medication with you, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Heartburn relief may also be a good idea.

If you’re going to a festival with your children, bring a family first aid kit with bandages, plasters, scissors and antiseptic wipes.

Keep any regular medicine that you take in a safe place, such as a zipped pocket in a bum bag.

Sun protection

The weather can be unpredictable, despite the forecasts, so it’s best to pack plenty of sun protection. Even if it’s cloudy, you should put sunscreen on your face and body many times a day to avoid burning. Use a suncream with a high SPF, such as 30 or 50, and remember to put it on your ears and neck. A small bottle of aftersun lotion is a good idea to soothe skin at the end of the day.

Bring sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays. Often, there isn’t much shade at festivals - so a hat can help protect you from sun stroke.

Water and hydration

Drinking enough water is essential at a festival. Although you should normally aim for eight glasses a day, you’ll probably need to drink more as you’re likely losing fluids by sweating, being in the sun and drinking alcohol.

Bring a refillable bottle with you that you can attach to your bag or belt. You can get foldable bottles or pouches, which are handy as they don’t take up much room.

Digestive health

Eating festival food, drinking alcohol and being in the sun - as well as sleeping less - can cause havoc with your digestive system. Always wash your hands after going to the toilet and try to eat relatively healthily. Festivals usually have a variety of food stalls on offer which have healthy options and fruit or veg.

If you do experience stomach cramps, nausea, sickness or diarrhoea, drink lots of water and eat bland foods to settle your stomach. Bringing diarrhoea relief medications - as well as antacids - is a good idea too.

Foot health

Walking around all day, especially while wearing wellies, can cause blisters, so bring blister plasters. Pack plenty of clean socks and baby powder to help freshen up your feet after a long day.

Sanitary items

Baby wipes and face wash are an essential after a hot day traipsing around fields. You might also want to bring some shower gel to freshen up your armpits with some bottled water.

It’s also important to bring sanitary items, such as tampons, sanitary towels or menstrual cups, just in case you come on your period. A bottle of hand sanitiser is an essential, which you can also use as hand wash. You can also get PH-friendly intimate wipes which can help keep your vagina feeling clean and fresh when you’re on your period and have limited access to showers.

Safe sex

Even if you don’t plan on using it, add contraception to your festival bag. This includes your normal contraception - whether it is the pill, ring or patch - and condoms.

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