Crucial Ways to Beat High Temperatures During Festival Season

Article by: Marcus Barnes|@mgoldenbarnes

Fri September 01, 2017 | 14:17 PM

Temperatures in the UK are high right now, with cities like London experiencing that uncomfortably sticky feeling thanks to a combination of the naturally humid atmosphere and our pollution levels. Around the world temperatures continue to move on up, creeping up to worrying levels. Some blame man-made climate change while others say it’s just a natural evolution in our weather systems. Whatever your theory, it’s clear that we need to stay protected and ever conscious of ourselves while out and about at festivals.

A couple of years ago a guy I know took some Xanax to knock himself out after a few days partying at Glastonbury, decided to sleep outside his tent and woke up a few hours later with almost first-degree burns from the direct sunlight. He was so ill that he had to take a week off work and go to the hospital. That’s an extreme story but it’s one of many, and more common than you might expect. Staying safe in the sun is paramount at festivals, so here are a few simple tips to survive the high temperatures.

Dress For The Weather

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Photo by: Galen Oakes

Besides the most obvious tip – wear as little as possible – another key piece of advice when it comes to your attire is to make sure you wear lightweight, light-coloured cotton clothes. Heat gets trapped by synthetic fibres, but cotton absorbs perspiration and its evaporation causes you to feel cooler. Avoid polyester like the plague.

You should also stay clear of PVC, leather and any other kinky materials, unless the sweaty deviant look is what you’re going for. On top of this, always opt for light colours (or reflective materials and colours) as they deflect the sun's radiation, helping you to stay doubly cool.

A Little Liquid Goes A Long Way

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Photo by: Matte Hanna

What you take into your body is always intrinsic to your state of mind. In order to maintain the homeostasis of your body’s temperature, then, you’re better off avoiding a cold beer or a chilled white wine spritzer. It's a tough one to digest but you should avoid alcohol because it dehydrates the body. You are far better off with mineral water or low-sugar fizzy drinks. Also, avoid drinks with caffeine such as coffee and colas; these types of drinks increase the metabolic heat in the body. Yep, it's boring for some, but it's also imperative if you’re going to stay cool. Try drinking chrysanthemum tea. Practitioners say chrysanthemum is a cooling herb that clears the head. Other herbal teas, juices, or water-rich fruits can help hydrate as well.

Eat Smaller To Get Cooler

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Photo by: Emily Tan

In today’s society, particularly in the West, it's ingrained into our daily routine that we must have three square meals per day, most of which are large meals that keep us full for a few hours until the next big feed. However, there’s a school of thought that suggests that this isn’t our natural way of eating and that we should eat smaller meals and more often. This is actually pretty easy in the festival environment and shouldn’t be difficult to implement. This also links back to surviving the heat as, the larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. You should also do your utmost to avoid foods that are high in protein, which also increase metabolic heat.

It’s also said that eating spicy food is a good additional method to bring temperatures down. Counter-productive though it may sound, hot food stimulates heat receptors in the mouth which increases circulation and engages the body’s natural cooling system, giving you the sweats and, hopefully, cooling you down in the process.

Give Your Body Some Chill Time

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After eating spicy food, you may also want to run your wrists under a cold water for five seconds. One of the body’s main veins passes through this area, which helps cool the blood and brings your core temperature down when cooled by water. Ice cubes, cold cans or bottles, and damp fabrics placed on the neck, wrists or elbows will also help to regulate your internal cooler, bringing that sweet, sweet chill vibe to your whole body. Better yet, plan ahead the night before you go out for the day in the sun, roll some damp flannels up and pop them in the cooler with some ice cubes. Take them with you in a plastic bag. Then, when you start to feel hot, unwrap them and place them over your face.

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If you have access, a tepid shower just below body temperature, especially before bedtime, can really help to bring your temperature down a few degrees. Although a cold shower is way more tempting, your body generates heat afterwards to compensate for the heat loss caused by that short-term fix. When there are no showers available, try filling up a large bottle of water and pouring it all over yourself; it sounds a bit crazy but it's useful if the heat feels overwhelming.

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Remember to slow down a bit. You don’t have to be on a rampage every single second of a festival – some of the best times you can have are when you’ve slowed right down, pitched up somewhere and spent time chatting and hanging with friends. Getting down low to the ground, sitting or lying down, is a great way to enter a chill space. Simply taking a breather and finding some shade is a big move in the battle against overheating.

Close your eyes and picture snow. Research has shown that the body reacts to daydreams, and will actually reduce its overall temperature. Odd but worth a try.

Go Go Gadget Armpit Fan!

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There are millions of useful (and not-so-useful) gadgets out there designed to keep you cool on the move. One of the best portable handheld fans out there has to be the Tee-Zed Products Water Spray Fan, which not only gives you a constant cool breeze but adds a light mist of water into the mix. You can also attach a fan to the ceiling of your tent.

Liquid Ice is also fantastic. This reusable ice wrap is perfect for cooling hot skin. The cloth, pre-soaked in the Liquid Ice solution, cools instantly when removed from the packet without need for refrigeration, which is obviously great for when you’re camping in a field with no chance of getting close to a fridge. Mentholatum Migraine ice patches do a similar job. They’re soft gel patches designed to soothe headaches. They come into their own during heatwaves as they instantly reduce skin temperature when applied. They can be found in most good pharmacies.

Watchara Phomicinda Do Lab Hydrate Water Gun

A water gun is another fun, and cheap method for applying cooling water to yourself and others. Some people might not take too kindly to a random dousing so this is not a case of shoot first ask questions later. Or get yourself a mist sprayer, complete with backpack, so you can go around spraying people with a cooling mist.

Failing all of these, a good old hat with an umbrella attached (or indeed umbrellas or parasols themselves) will also be a great ally in the war on heat. Simple but effective.

Always remember that if you feel like the heat is really getting to you and nothing is working, speak up and have a friend accompany you to the festival medical tent. Medical professionals at festivals are there to help you, no matter what the problem might be.