Avoiding mud at festivals
Mud may seem like the best thing ever when you're five, but not when you're knee-deep in the stuff and trying to dance. Here's how to survive the festival mud.
It's a simple equation: rain plus field plus hundreds of pairs of feet - it all leads to big mud. Festival organisers kindly try to mop it up a bit by chucking a few handfuls of straw at the problem, but the straw usually has a good laugh at them and floats to the surface of the puddles.
The irritating, sloppy, oozy stuff gets everywhere. Even the cleanest amongst us will find muck in our tent, in our hair, on our clothes, and wherever else you care to imagine.
Apply mud once daily for three days
Some hardcore grimy types will be happy rolling around in the mud. They should probably be reminded that it really isn't anything like the stuff you get in a health spa. Wrong kind of mud pack, ladies and gentlemen, and you won't get a lovely warm white fluffy towel to clean up with afterwards or meet a nice masseuse called Tina.
Festival mud is different. TheSite.org's highly scientific-ish analysis of its composition reveals it to be made up of cowshit, rain water, overflowing chemical toilet effluent, half-eaten noodles, salmonella-burgers and germs. Don't be tempted to eat this stuff. The argument "it's only a bit of dirt" won't wash here - and neither can you.
Festival-goers at a very wet Glastonbury were treated for trench foot. It's caused by having cold, wet feet for several hours and the symptoms are tingling, itching, pain, swelling and blisters. Seek urgent medical attention or try to avoid it by taking your wellies along with you. After all, you can get them in all sorts of pretty colours these days. See our guide to festival footcare for more.
Bugged out with bacteria
Bacteria such as E coli come from cow dung and sewage and love breeding in those stinky puddles. They can easily be transferred from hand to mouth, causing diarrhoea and vomiting. You'll never last in the queue for the portaloos - and even if you get to one in time, expect to be stuck in there all afternoon. To escape this horrible punishment take a small pack of baby wipes with you and clean your hands before you eat.
Tetanus spores live happily in the soil and can get into the body through even the tiniest wound or scratch. Tetanus infection has become rare in the UK, but it can kill. The incubation period is about four - 21 days, followed by muscle stiffness, lockjaw, sweating and fever. Make sure you've been immunised against it and go to the nearest medical tent if you do cut yourself to get the wound cleaned. You may need a booster shot.
How to survive the festival mud
- Waterproofs and wellies: Take them with you and wear them. Your feet will stay dry and they'll make wading across the muddy lakes much easier. Plus you'll be the envy of other punters and won't have to spend all your beer money on a pair when you're there. Prices can be extortionate.
- Plastic bags: Failing wellies, plastic bags wrapped around your feet can help keep your feet dry. They are also useful for putting all the muddy things into and keeping clean things out of the mud. Bin liners are also great for sitting on if the waterproof-trouser look just isn't you.
- Wet wipes: Absolutely essential for removing everything from make-up to mud. Take lots of them.
- Clothes: Unless you're going to let it all hang out, keep one set of clothes clean and dry to sleep in/travel home in. Pack clothes you don't mind ruining.
- Pitch: Don't camp by the stage, a walkway or at the bottom of a hill. Your tent may drown. Camping too close to portaloos isn't advisable either.
- Failing all the above: Cover yourself from head to toe in mud and pose for the press while everyone points, laughs and shouts "Twat!".
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