NEWS... BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
Thousands of revellers are set to descend upon Worthy Farm in the coming days as the Glastonbury Festival 2022 returns to the site for the first time since 2019.
The annual music event – whose headliners this year include Billie Eilish, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar – was among many festivals shelved in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.
And while Covid remains a concern, the recent monkeypox outbreak in the UK has also raised fears among many – with the World Health Organisation previously warning that people attending summer music festivals could be at risk.
At time of writing there were 504 confirmed cases of the virus across the UK – and although the risk to the general public remains low, this is likely to increase at any sort of mass gathering, particularly one such as Glastonbury with around 200,000 people in attendance.
But if you’re heading for Worthy Farm – or any other music festival this summer – what steps can you take to keep yourself safe?
While viruses such as monkeypox may be a concern if you are going to a music festival or any other mass gathering, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe – even before you arrive.
Here’s what you can do to ensure you keep your health on an even keel.
Health Expert Stephanie Taylor from StressNoMore told Metro.co.uk that making sure you are well-rested before you arrive is vital.
‘To prepare your immune system for five days of excessive drinking, no sleep and a lot of walking, you might want to get a couple of early nights over the next few days,’ she says.
‘Quality sleep is essential for boosting your immune system against threats, with several studies revealing that the risk of infections is higher for those with sleep deprivation.’
She also advises festivalgoers to eat properly – making the most of tinned food and choosing healthy meals and snacks, especially if self-catering.
‘While fresh foods are a no-no, you’d be surprised by the nutritional value you can get from tinned foods. For example, tinned vegetables like carrot, peas and sweetcorn will provide you with plenty of vitamins, while tinned meat has protein and carbs and beans, pulses, or cereal bars are high in fibre and other nutrients.’
It also goes without saying that you should drink plenty of water – around three litres a day if possible.
‘If you have a standard 500ml plastic water bottle, drink six bottles throughout the day. Drinking plenty will give you more energy, keep you cool and help prevent sickness,’ Stephanie says.
Stephanie recommends that those going to Glasto should pack essentials to protect them from health threats – such as hand sanitiser, a mini first-aid kit and vitamins in sealed bottles.
‘When you’re at the festival, don’t let your hygiene slip as this is how you can damage your immune system,’ Stephanie explains.
‘Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water (when you can) and always carry hand sanitiser around with you. Hand sanitisers with a higher volume of alcohol are better, as they are a more effective disinfectant that breaks up the outer coating of bacteria and viruses.’
You should also try and avoid sharing foods, drinks and utensils or clothes with others – and avoid touching your face too often, as this is a way for pathogens to enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth.
While it is not a sexually transmitted disease (STI), the monkeypox virus can be contracted through sex due to close contact – it can be transmitted through skin lesions, respiratory droplets or fomite from an infected person. And if you’re feeling unwell, visit one of the medical facilities on-site, who will be able to offer you the best advice for your symptoms.
Pippa Murphy, sex and relationship expert at condoms.uk, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘With monkeypox on the rise, this is another reason why you should wear a condom.
‘The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has suggested that those who previously had the virus should use condoms for eight weeks after infection, so it’s important to consider this when having sex with someone whose medical healthy history you don’t know.’
Good hygiene is also important, with Pippa also recommending the use of hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes, wet wipes and a breath spray or mouth wash, to minimise the risks associated with skin-to-skin contact.
However, she also stresses that – while it might seem awkward – the best way to stay safe during a sexual encounter with a fellow festivalgoer is to ask them if they have had monkeypox symptoms.
Whilst this may seem like a mood killer, it’s incredibly important to ask these questions to protect your health and prevent the spread of both infections. Ask them if they have any Covid-19 or monkeypox symptoms or had any in the previous two weeks and the same for anyone in their household.
‘If they’re considerate, they’ll answer your question with no qualms, however, if they get defensive, this is a major red flag that they may have had either virus or at least not care about the practice of safe sex. They’re, therefore, not worthy of your time.’
According to the NHS, a rash will usually appear between one to five days after infection – generally beginning on the face before spreading.
The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox.
It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs that later fall off.
Between one and 21 days after infection, you may experience the following symptoms:
There is no single cure for monkeypox, so treatment is largely focused on relieving symptoms – including lowering your temperature, easing pain, and taking antibiotics to help fight the infection.
Most people with the infection will make a full recovery within two to four weeks, although complications can develop in some people who contract the virus – such as children and pregnant women.
MORE : Monkeypox to get new name to stop racism and stigma
MORE : UK monkeypox outbreak is biggest outside Africa and still growing
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