Here's what going to a festival can do to your body

<i>Festivals can have a detrimental effect on your health [Photo: PA]</i>
Festivals can have a detrimental effect on your health [Photo: PA]

No doubt plenty of you are feeling the after effects of a heavy weekend at Glastonbury 2017.

But what can a weekend of heavy drinking, social smoking and generally not taking care of yourself do your body? decided to delve into the health effects of festivals, creating a handy timeline of potential consequences from alcohol, cigarettes, dehydration and sunburn.

Straight away


With 44% of people in the UK suffering from at least one allergy, it’s not surprising for this to be the first thing that’ll flare up on entering a festival.

A hay fever sufferer may begin to notice their nose becoming blocked and irritation in their eyes and airways almost immediately (and especially in times of a high pollen count).

People with asthma may experience wheeziness and a tight chest that may worsen due to the presence of smoke and humidity.

To avoid exacerbating your symptoms, take an antihistamine before leaving for the festival. Try to steer clear of any triggers such as smoke and apply Vaseline to the base of the nostrils to help limit contact with potential allergens.

In the first six hours


Of course, you’ll probably have had a little bit too much to drink within the first few hours of being at a festival.

And it’s all too easy to forget how much alcohol you’ve consumed. Anything over six units in one session is classed as binge drinking for a woman (eight units for a man). That’s only two large glasses of wine or two strong pints of beer.

To avoid feeling too lightheaded, try to pace your drinks and switch between alcohol and water.

The other thing you’ll have forgotten is when you last applied sun cream. Mild sunburn can begin to develop after just 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun.

Set alarms to remind yourself to reapply sun cream and take plenty with you. Remember that the sun is the strongest between 11am and 3pm so try and take some breaks in the shade during this time.

By 24 hours


Let’s face it: you probably drank extremely heavily on your first night. So you’re likely to be experiencing a massive hangover.

If you consumed nine units of alcohol, your hangover is only likely to be mild as the liver will have begun to remove it from your system at one unit per hour.

12 units will have meant a lot of trips to the toilet so you may be a little dehydrated. Your digestive system may also not have reacted well to the sudden influx of alcohol, leading to potential nausea and vomiting.

Anything over 12 units puts you at an increased risk of alcohol poisoning.

The next morning, remember to drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate yourself. Experts recommend giving your body a rest for the next 48 hours (though this is unlikely if you’re at a weekender).

Social smokers or people who have never smoked before are more likely to give into temptation when laced with alcohol. If you haven’t drank enough water throughout the day, even a couple of cigarettes can kickstart the dehydration process.

If you smoke, you may also experience lightheadedness, nausea, headaches and a sore throat and may even see a rise in your blood pressure and cortisol levels.

The best thing you can do is not smoke. If that’s not an option, try limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.

Anyone suffering from sun burn will now be experiencing redness, tenderness and pain. Avoid further sun exposure by staying in the shade as much as possible and covering up with loose clothing.

Drink plenty of fluids after the first 24 hours of being at a festival. On a normal day, you should drink around two litres of water (8 glasses). If you are active in hot weather, up this a little to avoid feeling dehydrated.

Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, darker urine and general tiredness. If you or a friend feels seriously unwell with an increased pulse rate and feelings of confusion, seek urgent medical attention.

By 48 hours


Food poisoning can become a real possibility if you haven’t been too careful. Symptoms will usually appear within 24 hours and include fever, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and dehydration

To avoid any type of food poisoning, be careful when preparing and eating food. Wash hands before and after handling food and before eating. Remember to keep cooking areas clean or simply take pre-cooked food to be on the safe side.

If you suspect you have food poisoning, rest and drink lots of fluids.

Drinking alcohol for 48 hours straight (otherwise classed as binge drinking) can cause a condition called ‘holiday heart syndrome’. This is a temporary irregular heartbeat.

Sufferers may experience palpitations as a result of this condition. If you do, you must stop drinking alcohol immediately.

Sleep deprivation will also have kicked in. Mild signs of this can appear after just one night of poor sleep (less than six hours). You may begin to feel tired, irritable and less alert and may be more prone to muscle aches after a few days.

Obviously, sleeping in a tent will never give you the best night’s sleep. But to sleep more soundly, try limiting your alcohol intake and don’t smoke as this can cause you to cough throughout the night.

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