Summer’s here, and along with it becomes the inevitable long hours bathing in the sun, the impromptu trips to the beach, the flights to destinations near and far, the car/ coach/ train journeys to the hippest festivals and concerts, the ice creams, the partying, and everything else that defines university summer holidays. But don’t forget to consider your safety. We here at the SGO have compiled a ‘quick guide’ to holiday safety, to help make sure you have the summer you have dreamed of (and totally deserve after all that studying) and to ensure it doesn’t end in tears- sad tears anyway!
The SGO ‘Quick Guide to Holiday Safety’ contains five sections:
- Midnight Madness- dos and don’ts during nights out on holiday.
- Water Wellbeing- making sure you don’t drown while you’re out in that clear blue Mediterranean ocean.
- Festival Fiasco- tips on helping you avoid fiascos at festivals, including: camping safety, alcohol, clothing, packing and the word that begins with S and ends with X.
- Sun Safety- staying safe while relaxing in that glorious summer sun- with a cheeky photo of Audrey Hepburn to show you have awesome sun safety is.
- Thought for Food- helping you decide what/ what not to eat while on holiday. Guidance on food, drinks, uncooked food, water, street food.
Without further ado…
THE SGO QUICK GUIDE TO HOLIDAY SAFETY.
End your summer holiday like this…
… Not like this
(The photograph above is sourced from the movie ‘Springbreakers’- the perfect example of what not to do on your holiday abroad.)
Nothing makes you feel more alive than walking around a town on a blissfully warm night, admiring the sunsets and the shining lights from the picture perfect homes. A drink in a local bar is the perfect end to any evening, however just because you’re relaxed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain vigilant!
Caution + fun= the perfect holiday
- Having a few drinks at that super gorgeous little bar downtown won’t do any harm. Just remember the alcohol guidelines while you’re buying that third or fourth drink. Remember, the UK guidelines state that women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day, and men should not drink more than 3-4 units.
- Know your limit- drinking too much may end unhappily.
- Keep an eye on your friends and help remove them from the situation if you think they’ve drunk too much.
- There is safety in numbers- stick together all night.
- Be mindful of strangers- they might seem friendly enough, but you can’t judge a book by its cover. Never accept a drink from a stranger, and never disappear with one- even if your friends know where you are, it may not be safe.
- Keep your drink with you at all times. Don’t leave it on its own- this opens up the possibility of it being spiked.
- Only take the essentials out with you. Leave unnecessary valuables back at your hotel.
- Think about your nights out while packing. Take one pair of sensible shoes with you to keep your feet safe on a night time ramble.
The perfect place to spend a warm summer’s evening.
Spending a day on the beach is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. It is made even more awesome by a quick swim in that gloriously warm Mediterranean water. But just because you’re now officially an adult- and can swim strokes other than a doggy paddle- doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep in mind what your mum told you when you were six:
- Don’t swim too far out to sea, and stay in the area of the beach patrolled with lifeguards.
- Swim between flags put out by the lifeguard, demonstrating the safe areas of water.
- Never swim in the sea alone.
- If you get into trouble in the sea, stick your hand in the air and shout for help.
- If someone else is in trouble, inform a lifeguard. If there is no lifeguard, call the emergency hotline for that country and ask for a coastguard.
- Think sensibly- it’s a really bad idea to go into the sea after drinking, as alcohol slows your reactions and impairs your ability to judge distances. So when considering to take a risk- don’t. Just don’t. Keep the sea and alcohol separate.
- Before going into the sea, ensure you know what to do if you encounter any tricky situations, such as rip currents, tides and waves.
- Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyholidays/Pages/Beachsafety.aspx to find out more about these hazards, flags and further details on beach safety.
The above tips can be applied to swimming pools as well. Exercise caution while in pools. Just because there is no chance of tides or waves doesn’t mean there aren’t any other possible hazards. Think safe and you’ll stay safe, inside water and out.
Holi Celebrations at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
A festival is like a concert, a clubbing holiday and a summer holiday al in one. It’s fun, you spend a weekend with your friends, you get to see Imagine Dragons, or Bastille, or Paramore, or Taylor Swift live. There is unlimited food available, not to mention the booze. However, no matter how fun the event may seem to be, here are many risks. So let’s talk about it.
- Think ‘festival’ when you pack. Pack all the necessities you need. Sensible clothing, spare batteries, waterproof jacket. One thing people always forget is medication. First Aiders, such as St John’s Ambulance, are only allowed to give out over-the-counter medication. So bring your prescribed medication with you. Bring a first aid kit with everything you might need: paracetamol, plasters, disinfectant, medication for headaches and stomach upsets.
- Find out where the medical centre is when you arrive.
- Personal hygiene is often tricky to control at festivals. So wash your hands before you eat, after using the loo and after handling rubbish to minimize risk of illness. Always pack wet wipes and antibacterial hand wash to use, as well as washing your hands.
- Keep your feet clean and dry at festivals, to avoid contracting blisters, fungal infections and trench foot. Wear waterproof wellie boots and dry socks wen it is wet, and take them off at night. Avoid wearing flip flops and new shoes.
- If you are standing near loudspeakers, wear earplugs. Take breaks regularly from the music
- Waterproof and warm clothing is essential to meeting hypothermia. But the temperature drops, try to stay as dry as possible.
- Wax flares can be a huge safety hazard. They can spit and run, causing wax burns, especially if they are legal. So only by authorised dealers.
- Phones are a great invention, but network coverage at festivals is often limited. So, in case you lose signal, lose or break your phone, ensure you arrange a meeting point and time with your friends, in case somebody gets lost. Don’t feel afraid to ask festival stewards for help, and refrain from calling 999 as it can put additional stress and pressure on the emergency services.
- Camping is often a huge part of festivals, so ensure you think ‘safety’ when you choose, pitch and use your tent. Practice putting your tent up prior to the festival. Have everything you need with you to assemble and use your tent at the festival. Choose a tent with bright luminescent guy ropes so people can see them in the dark. Avoid obstructing walkways. Pack one torch for late-night blue trips, and warm sleeping bag with enough bedding. Avoid naked flames and smoking within the tent, and ensure you know the fire safety arrangements, such as where the nearest source of water is. If there is a fire in your tent, get everyone out quickly.
- Now… let’s talk about booze. Downing two bottles of cider with your mates may seem a good idea at first, but alcohol can distort you perception, and lead you to doing some silly things– not a good idea when you’re surrounded by strangers. So stick to the legal limit, and if you think you won’t be able to stop drinking, avoid drinking altogether. You won’t regret it the next morning!
- This tip applies to festivals, clubbing holidays and any situation you might find yourself in. On TV shows such as ‘Sun, Festivals and Suspicious Parents’, sex is a huge aspect of the young people’s lives. However, remember that sex + no condom = increased chance of an STI and increased chance of pregnancy. So, if it is likely to happen, plan in advanced. Bring contraception with you. If you have any worries, talk to a paramedic. If you realise “oops, I had unprotected sex”, head to the medical centre ASAP, who can give you advice, or emergency contraception.
- Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Festivalhealth/Pages/Survivalguide.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.
Glastonbury sign at Glastonbury Festival.
Safety in the sun is vitally important for your health and well-being. So don’t take any risks. Memorise the tips below so you are 100% confident you are safe in the sun!
Protect yourself from harmful UV rays by wearing sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat.
- How the sun is harmful: the sun penetrates the skin and damages the cells. These cells are at risk of becoming cancerous. This can happen whether sunburnt or not.
- Who’s at risk: those particularly at risk include individuals with fair skin that burns easily in the sun, those with naturally red or fair hair, those with a multitude of moles and freckles, a personal or family history of skin cancer, or those who have already had sunburn, particularly when young.
- Stay in the shade if possible, especially between 11 AM and 3 PM, when the sun rays are the strongest.
- Never let yourself burn. Make sure you cover up, wear sun cream and reapply it at a regular basis.
- Take extra care with children.
- Use factor 15+ sun cream, if not stronger.
- Noticeable change or unusual skin growth? Consult your GP ASAP.
- Avoid using sunbeds, as health risks include skin cancer, premature ageing skin, sunburn, dryness and itching, and eye irritation.
- It is illegal for people under 18 to use sunbeds.
- Protect your eyes, as overexposure to sunlight increases the risk of cataract and growths on the surface of the eye. Overexposure to ultraviolet light can cause temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye.
- Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to reduce the amount of UV rays reaching your face.
- Byy sunglasses with the CE mark and British standard, a UV 400 label and 100% sun protection.
- Visit http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/skin/pages/sunsafe.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.
Holly Golightly had the right idea.
THOUGHT FOR FOOD
Food is a wonderful thing. Right now I’m thinking of Mexican Fajitas, Turkish Pilaf Rice and Shish Kebabs, Italian Pizzas, Swedish Meatballs, Spanish Tapas, Indian Curry and Chinese Stirfry. But not all restaurants, cafes and street markets are hygienic. Follow the tips below to help you choose yummy- but safe- foods and drinks while abroad!
- Don’t drink tap water or use it to clean your teeth while abroad – unless it has been treated.
- Use filtered, bottled, boiled or chemically treated water instead.
- Bottled water with the sale intact is safe.
- Avoid ice in drinks – unless you know it has been made with safe water.
- Avoid foods that use animal waste as fertilisers, including:
- Salads, for example lettuce.
- Uncooked fruit and vegetables, unless watched in safe water by you.
- Food is being left out at room temperature in warm environments, or has been exposed to flies.
- Unpasteurised a products, for example milk, cheese or ice cream.
- Raw and cooked seafood or shellfish.
- Street trader food – unless freshly prepared and served hot and clean crockery.
- Only dine in places which have a reputation for serving safe food.
- Ensure you only eat food that is slowly cooked and served very hot.
- Wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating.
- Visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/travelhealth/Pages/Food-and-water-abroad.aspx to find out more about health and safety at festivals.
Most importantly- HAVE FUN!
Use these tips with discretion. They will not apply to every situation, but they will help you remain safe, healthy and happy in many situations you face. Visit the linked web pages to find more detailed guidance on holiday safety.
Liked this guide? Read more on futurelifehappiness.wordpress.com.
Have you seen our other guides?
- Do-It-Yourself Spa Day
- The Allotment Blitz Allotmenteer’s Guide to Gardening: Getting Started
- Holiday the Sustainable Way
- How to get a Good Night’s Sleep
Meg & the SGO xxx