Get the most out of this summer’s hottest music festivities without fear
May hosts some of the hottest music festivals throughout the continent and, as it happens, May is also Emergency Medical Services Month (EMS). Music festivals draw bigger crowds each year and, with such a great number of people in one place, it can’t be helped that some people who require medical attention will not be immediately attended to by EMS. Rock out in some of May’s music festivals and keep yourself and others safe with some first-aid knowledge that would make your paramedics proud.
Hot! Hot! Hot!
With the arrival of summer, the temperature goes higher, and a higher temperature brings with it a host of heat-related medical conditions. An awesome open air music festival is just one of the places people bear the heat of the sun and, because of this, more people fall prey to heat-induced medical ailments. Just what should you do when you encounter these common instances?
Nosebleeds can happen during the summer because of allergens floating in the air or the sudden change in temperature (from a cool, air-conditioned room to the hot outdoor climate). This could also happen in packed music festivals where the crowd is so close together that it is easy to get accidentally hit on the head (trauma). When this happens to you, pinch the bridge of your nose, sit down, and bow your head down. Prepare an ice pack and place it on your nape to help regulate your body temperature.
Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke
It is important to act fast to counter possible dangerous consequences when it comes to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. These two conditions begin with a dizzy spell, usually due to dehydration, while exposed to the sun. When you suspect that someone is experiencing any of these two heat-related conditions, immediately take him/her to a cool, shady area with a constant cool breeze (or you can fan him/her) and have him/her rehydrate with a cool drink, making sure it has no alcohol content. For heat exhaustion, make the person avoid physical activity for the rest of the day. For heat stroke, it is best to call emergency medical services just to be sure.
Food! Food! Food!
Where there’s a festival, there will be food. Make sure you’re prepared for food-related conditions as well, and learn your ABC’s.
Learn your ABC’s!
ABC stands for Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. Basically, this means that you must ensure that the airways (e.g., mouth, nostrils) of the affected person are free, the person is able to breathe (listen for or feel it), and that there is oxygen circulating in the body (check the pulse too!).
When you see somebody choking, and you should know this since the universal signal for choking is putting both hands on his/her own throat, you must jump into action at once. Learn to correctly perform the Heimlich maneuver. Here are four easy steps as a basic guide to performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a conscious person who is standing or sitting down:
- Step 1: Position yourself behind the choking person.
- Step 2: Place a balled up fist just above the person’s navel and hold your fist tightly with the other hand.
- Step 3: Abruptly pull your fist upward to increase airway pressure that will help the person remove the obstruction from his/her throat.
- Step 4: Repeat step 3 several times until the obstruction is released.
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) or acid reflux is a condition wherein a person’s stomach acids make their way up the esophagus and cause chest pain. This is also called heartburn. Some people mistake chest pain from heartburn with chest pain from a heart attack, but GERD can be relieved by taking antacids (and limiting intake of fatty and acidic food).
Jump! Dance! Groove!
RICE stands for REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, and ELEVATION. This is usually done with cases that involve the muscles. What you must do is make the person sit or lie down on a comfortable spot and apply an ice pack over the strained or cramping muscle. Apply pressure or wrap the strained or swelling muscle with bandage, and raise it above the heart. For leg cramps, have the person lie down and raise the cramping leg at a 90-degree angle with the thigh, and apply ice on the affected muscle as you stretch it out (with the foot facing you, push the balls of the feet forward just enough to stretch out the leg muscle and relieve the cramps).
With too much excitement comes the possibility of seizures. If you see someone having a seizure attack, act fast. Lay the person on the ground and loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck to avoid asphyxiation. Roll up a towel and use it to cushion his/her head. Next, turn him/her on his/her side and do NOT restrain the person’s movements. Instead, time the seizure so it can be reported to emergency services if needed. Once the involuntary bodily movement stops, the person may get up confused. Stay with the person until he/she is in a proper/calmer state of mind.
Now that you’re prepared with first-aid knowledge for common medical issues, you can now rock out the next half of May. Check out music festivals in your area at Music Festival Junkies or, if you want to expand your knowledge on basic first aid, check out the Basic First Aid and First Aid Kits article put together by xdemix at Young People Can Help the World Too.
Rock out and stay safe, everyone!by