The best thing about the British summer has got to be the festivals – let's face it, it's unlikely to be the sun. So if you're going to brave the mud and the rain – you know it's worth it – staying safe has got to be a priority, or it won't be fun at all.
Before You Go:
• Problem solve with your mates – what will you do if you... get separated from your mates? lose your tent? or feel unwell?
• Ensure you have a letter from your doctor to say you have diabetes and need to carry needles/syringes as some venues will need this. Also, it could say that you need to carry food into the festival as you have diabetes, some festivals don’t let you take food in, and it can be very expensive to buy it all there.
Mighty DUK's Top Tips for being prepared
• Have you taken a sunhat, sun cream, wellies, sandals? A large water container if you are camping? A few bin bags are useful – you can cut a hole in one if it is raining, sit on another, or put wet/soggy clothes in them.
• Things happen at festivals you may not be prepared for – whatever sex you are take some condoms with you – just in case.
• Do your mates know you have diabetes? Do they know how you act when you are hypo? Do they know what to do? Make sure you tell them all of this.
• Make sure you have ICE (in case of emergency) on your phone contacts list – put a number of someone at the festival and someone at home – paramedics will look for this if you are too ill to tell them who to contact.
• Do you have ID? Have a look at: www.icebands.biz, or www.icegems.co.uk, as well as the more traditional www.medicalert.org.uk
• How are you going to charge your phone? Think about solar power or wind up charger - some festivals have stalls but these can be expensive so you'll need to factor that into your budget
Check you’ve got all your diabetes equipment:
• Insulin and your delivery system (pen/pump/syringe)
• Blood glucose monitoring kit
• Hypo remedies
When You Arrive:
• Identify your tent - Make it stand out e.g. by using a flag and note nearby landmarks
• Work out where the first aid tent is early on – they may not carry your particular sort of insulin but will be able to help if you feel unwell in any way.
Remember to take spares of everything!
Mighty DUK's Top Tips for equipment at festivals
• Drink plenty of sugar-free fluids to keep you well hydrated, and check your blood glucose regularly.
• Have plenty of carbohydrate-based snacks available.
• Make sure you always have something to treat a hypo with you.
• If you forget anything the festival medical services can usually obtain supplies.
• Look for somewhere clean to inject your insulin - some festivals have areas where you may be able to access a clean area for medical purposes.
• How will you carry your insulin, meter and whatever you need to combat hypos? You may be a long walk from your tent. A small back pack or combat shorts are really useful. Sew Velcro onto the pockets if you can, as it may stop things falling out.
• How much money will you take and where will you keep it? Remember to split it, perhaps an emergency fund in a locker or zipped pocket. Consider your footwear carefully if it is raining - wellie weather!
• It may be a good idea to take some disposable insulin pens for the festival even if you usually use a pen with refills. Your GP, practice nurse or diabetes team will be able to help you.
• If you use a pump, take an alternative delivery system in case your pump fails.
• How will you remember to take your insulin? You may want to put a reminder on your phone to let you know when to take your long acting insulin, or ask your friends to remind you.
• How will you keep your insulin cool? Frio packs work just by being run under water so are very useful: www.friouk.com
Remember, especially if this is the first time you have been away from home with your mates, your family may be feeling worried about you, so if you text occasionally it may save a lot of grief when you get home.
Lastly and obviously really - ENJOY YOURSELF! and BE SAFE!