Glastonbury Festival will be taking place between 21-25 June this year, and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) South West and Somerset Council are reminding visitors to enjoy the Festival but remember to stay safe and be aware of possible risks to their health including measles, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and weather related illness.
With Glastonbury Festival starting in just under a week, Festival-goers are being reminded to be aware of ongoing health risks so they can enjoy the Festival and other events safely and responsibly this summer.
Attendees should be aware that measles is currently circulating across the country and in Europe. Symptoms of measles include a high fever, sore red watery eyes and a blotchy red brown rash, and is particularly easy to catch in environments when in close contact with others such as festivals or travelling. Measles is a highly infectious viral illness, so anyone with symptoms is advised to stay at home and phone their GP or NHS 111 for advice, before visiting the GP surgery or A&E, to prevent the illness spreading further. Measles is not ‘just a harmless childhood illness’. It spreads very easily and can lead to complications that require a stay in hospital and on rare occasions can cause lifelong disability or death.
If you are not vaccinated or not sure of your vaccination status, the MMR vaccine offers protection against measles, mumps and rubella and you can have it for free at your GP surgery. The UKHSA has recently urged parents of young children, teenagers and adults to check that they are up to date with their MMR vaccines, particularly before they travel this summer and before attending summer festivals where measles can spread more easily.
It is never too late to catch up. If anyone has missed one or both doses of the MMR vaccine, contact your GP practice to book an appointment. Protection against measles, mumps and rubella starts to develop around 2 weeks after having the MMR vaccine, so there is still time to get the vaccine and ensure you’re protected in time for summer.
The South West region has recently experienced high temperatures and the first amber heat health alert of the year, and hot weather can pose a health risk for some people. The forecast for the Festival is currently mixed, with rain forecast ahead of the Festival and for the first few days, with hotter weather expected towards the end of the Festival weekend, so remember to pack wellies/sturdy boots and waterproofs too.
Festival guests are reminded to stay safe during periods of hot weather, especially when walking around the Festival. Remember to carry a refillable water bottle with you and drink it throughout the day, wear sun cream and a sunhat and avoid excess alcohol. Remember to look out for one another. Keep a look-out for signs of heat-related harm in yourself, your friends, and other people around the Festival.
The signs include:
- a headache
- dizziness and confusion
- loss of appetite and feeling sick
- excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
- cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
- fast breathing or pulse
- a high temperature of 38C or above
- being very thirsty
If you experience any of these symptoms, drink some water or diluted fruit juice to rehydrate, find somewhere shaded to sit down and rest and avoid excess alcohol. If symptoms have not gone away after 30 minutes of resting, seek help from one of the medical centres at the Festival.
Cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are increasing and UKHSA is reminding everyone having sex with new or casual partners before or at the Festival to wear a condom and get tested regularly, whatever their age or sexual orientation. Testing is free and confidential and you should get tested even if you are not showing any symptoms.
Dr Bayad Nozad, Consultant in Health Protection at UKHSA South West, said:
We want festival-goers to enjoy their time at Glastonbury and other festivals this year. Being aware of the current health risks will help those attending enjoy the weekend, and other events this summer, as much as possible.
Measles is circulating across the country, and festivals are the perfect place for measles to spread. If you’re not fully vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, please contact your GP to see if you can get an appointment before coming to the festival. If you feel unwell or have been advised isolate as a result of measles or another infection, please continue to do so.
We are also seeing an increase in cases of STIs, with large rises particularly in young people. STIs aren’t just an inconvenience – they can have a major impact on your health and that of any sexual partners.
Condoms are the best defence, but if you didn’t use one the last time you had sex with a new or casual partner, get tested to detect any potential infections early and prevent passing them on to others. Testing is important because you may not have any symptoms of an STI.
Professor Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health for Somerset Council, said:
Keeping yourself safe over the Glastonbury weekend is paramount. Most health risks can be avoided by taking simple steps to help protect yourself. Regular good hygiene can help prevent the spread of most germs and infections and remembering to keep yourself cool and avoid excess alcohol can help keep you safe during periods of hot weather.
We are encouraging everyone who attends the Festival to take some basic steps to protect themselves and others:
- Familiarise yourself with the health and safety advice on the Glastonbury Festival website before you travel and encourage your friends to do the same
- Avoid travelling if you are feeling acutely unwell.
- Stay hydrated and avoid excessive alcohol consumption, particularly in hot weather
- Wash hands regularly and carry hand sanitiser with you – and take a face covering/face mask with you in case you need it
- Never take a BBQ into a tent – despite being out in the fresh air, carbon monoxide can build up to levels that can kill very quickly in enclosed spaces
- If you are preparing food – wash fruit and vegetable well and cook meat thoroughly to avoid food poisoning
- Stay safe in the sun by using sun lotion, wearing a hat and seeking shade in the hottest parts of the day
- Wear protection if having sex, but recognise that this may not prevent transmission of some infections such as mpox
- Seek advice if you become unwell – there are medical facilities around the Festival site, including two dispensing and retail pharmacies.
Regional Communications Manager, UKHSA South West
0117 968 9161
Further information and advice:
About Glastonbury Festival
Advice for Glastonbury Festival: https://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/information/advice/
Glastonbury Festival Medical and First Aid advice: https://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/information/advice/medical-and-first-aid/
MMR and Measles
For further information about the MMR vaccine, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/mmr-vaccine/
For further information about measles, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/measles/
And for further information about the routine vaccination schedule, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/nhs-vaccinations-and-when-to-have-them/
NHS guide to sexual health services – https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/sexual-health-services/guide-to-sexual-health-services/
Information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sexually-transmitted-infections-stis/
The NHS has guidance on hot weather health: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat health can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke/