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Big Events, Big Crowds

Summer in Simcoe and Muskoka means travel, sightseeing, and going to festivals and events like concerts, carnivals, arts and craft shows and fairs. If you're planning to attend, browse through these tips for a safe and healthy visit.

In case of extreme heat
thermometer, in a garden, showing 33 CelsiusExtreme heat can be very challenging when you're out at a large event. You and your family need to be extra careful to avoid dehydration or heat exhaustion.
  • Drink plenty of liquids. Water is your best choice. 
  • Look for shaded areas to rest from the heat, particularly with young children, seniors or if you are breastfeeding.  
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours. 
  • If you experience any heat-related symptoms – dizziness, lack of sweating, confusion – visit a health facility immediately. 

Hot weather in our area can also be followed by some pretty powerful storms. Keep an ear to the weather reports and prepare to take cover inside if thunder begins to rumble.

Preventing infection, staying healthy
  • Here's hoping all you take home with you are good memories. But when crowds are present, infectious diseases can spread.
  • Prevent yourself from getting sick and spreading germs by using alcohol-based hand sanitizer or washing your hands regularly with soap and water as needed.
  • If you become sick with diarrhea, vomiting, rash and/or fever, practice good hand hygiene and stay home.

If your illness lasts many days or gets worse, seek medical attention. Let them know about the event you were attending.

Ticks and mosquitoes
  • If outside when mosquitoes are most active (dusk to dawn)  or in wooded areas wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and use a repellent according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Apply repellent sparingly on any exposed skin (do not apply underneath clothes), avoiding your eyes; if you do get repellent in your eyes, rinse with water immediately.
  • Ticks do not fly or jump; they are hitch-hikers. Wear long pants with the cuffs tucked into socks, and close-toed shoes.
  • If you find a tick on your body, remove it with tweezers as close to its mouth as possible (that's the part stuck to your skin). Here's how.
  • Ticks can be submitted to the health unit for analysis and testing for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
Cooking outdoors
Family at a barbecue

If you're camping out at a festival, here's something to consider:

It's no coincidence that foodborne illnesses increase during the summer months.

The bacteria that can cause food poisoning thrive in a warm environment – and food at picnics or outdoor barbecues can easily be left in the dangerous temperature range for too long.

Know how to properly prepare and store your summer meals, and enjoy a healthy summer.

Camping and picnics: Tips on packing and preparing food and on safe drinking water.

Outdoor events: Planning to feed a big crowd? Know your responsibilities.

Barbecuing: Safe handling, preparation and cooking meat on the grill prevents illness.

Cooking temperatures: An easy-to-read table for the recommended temperatures.
Preventing injuries

A bit of common sense goes a long way to preventing accidents. 

  • Distracted walking is dangerous – put the phone away and pay attention when walking in parking lots or other areas with moving vehicles.
  • Watch your step – prevent slips, trips and falls caused by uneven ground or other obstacles.
  • When you arrive, learn where the first aid tent, chilling zone and free water are located. 

With luck you'll have sunny conditions for your festival. But that comes with its own risks.

  • Limit the time spent in the sun if you can, especially during the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Seek shade from trees, umbrellas, and awnings for outdoor activity.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Wear loose clothing to protect skin as much as possible.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect the ears, neck and face.
  • Wear sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB or UV400 protection. 


Alcohol and drugs

AlcoholThe excitement of a festival or concert can make it feel it's a good time to let loose and have a few drinks. 

Excessive drinking is never a good idea. There are long-term harms to your health, not to mention the accidents that become more likely in the moment. 

And in the heat of summer it can be especially risky.

Take a few minutes to think about how much you need to drink to enjoy your event.

If you haven't heard of Canada's Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines, you might be surprised at what they recommend.

Intoxicated people can be of danger to themselves and others. If you see someone who is experiencing difficulty, stay with them and get assistance.

Healthy living at the festival

When most of the action is up on a stage, there's a need to find ways to stay active and make healthy food choices.Physical Activity image

  • Consider walking or cycling whenever possible – even for part of the way combined with public transit.
  • Less sitting, more dancing! Enjoy the music to its fullest.
  • Don't forget to pack some fruit and veggies with lots of water. 

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is in effect throughout the grounds at any large event. That includes inside buildings, toilet facilities, public transportation, vehicles with children, outdoor food areas. Tobacco sales are off limits as well unless the right licensing has been obtained.

So, why not use these few days as the start of your new quit attempt? Get good advice from Smoker's Helpline.


Sexual health and harm reduction
Sexual Health

Use a condom: If you have sex you are at risk for sexually transmitted infections, band pregnancy. Protect yourself by using condoms every time you have sex. Free condoms are available at a local health unit office

Emergency contraceptive pills (ECP): You can take ECP up to five days after unprotected sex, although the soon you use it the better it works. ECP is available at the local health unit office, after-hours clinics, pharmacies and your health care provider. Have a look at our ECP fact sheet.

Blood-borne exposure: If you have been exposed to the blood or body fluids of another person, it's recommended you be assessed for risk of potential transmission of a blood-borne disease. You should be assessed as soon as possible after the exposure at a local emergency department, after-hours clinic or personal health care provider. 

Exchange Works: Needle disposal containers will be available at Burl's Creek, and may available at other events. Ask staff of the event. The containers are also provided to individuals and are in various locations in the community for safe disposal of used needles.

Harm Reduction Programs provide access to varying sizes of needles, spoons (cookers), alcohol swabs, water, tourniquets, vitamin C, safe inhalation supplies (crack pipes). Some sites may offer Naloxone kits, counselling, education, health care and referrals to community services as needed.

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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