NHS Highland warn of dangerous drinking levels at festival.

CAITHNESS folk joining other folk at the Belledrum festival next month will be able to get advice about safe drinking levels.
Staff from NHS Highland will also be offering festival goers the chance to discuss their drinking habits with a health professional. This will help them to identify whether their drinking is risky and practical ways to cut down, if desired.
Public Health Practitioner, Serena Ferguson, explained that these discussions – known as Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) – are aimed at the wider population who may be drinking a bit excessively, in that their drinking is above the sensible drinking limits, while not realising the effect this could have on their health.
She said the discussions, which are totally anonymous and confidential, will help raise awareness of their drinking in relation to the sensible limits and encourage them to make changes that bring them closer to the recommended levels, thus reducing the risk to their health.
Drinking excessively can increase the risk of developing a range of mental and physical health problems. By sticking to the sensible drinking limits people can reduce the risk of these types of problems arising. When people make changes and drink less than they usually do, the benefits often include having more energy, feeling more positive, sleeping better and being safer and more in control.
Ms Ferguson said: “Historically, young people, particularly young men, do not visit GPs or health facilities and the festival is an ideal location to reach a younger group of people. The Belladrum organisers have been both welcoming and enthusiastic in relation to the public health messages we wish to share. Belladrum is known as a family festival and they are keen to ensure the wellbeing of their festival goers.”
Suzy Calder, who is Substance Misuse Strategy and Implementation Manager for the Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, said festival goers should remember to drink plenty of water, to eat well and to avoid taking unnecessary risks when it comes to alcohol.
She said: “We want people attending Belladrum to enjoy themselves, but we also want to help them do so safely. It’s easy to get carried away by the atmosphere of a festival. However, if you drink too much, you could end up missing the event altogether.
“It’s important to eat before you start drinking and while you're drinking and to pace yourself by drinking soft drink spacers, particularly water, to keep you hydrated.”
And NHS Highland Nurse Consultant in Health Protection, Abhayadevi Tissington, reminded festival goers that sunburn can ruin their festival.
She said: “Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 - the higher the better – and try to spend some time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is most damaging to your skin. Also wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
“Although sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer, it is also the main source of vitamin D. Ten to 15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun exposure between 11am and 3pm is thought to be safe for all skin types in order to make vitamin D. Care should always be taken to cover up and apply sunscreen before any exposed skin becomes red or begins to burn.
“If you get sunburn, painkillers such as ibuprofen can reduce the swelling and the pain. Sponge damaged skin with cold water, then apply after sun or calamine lotion. If you feel unwell, or your skin swells badly or blisters, you should get medical advice."
Ms Tissington added that headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting are all symptoms of heat exhaustion.
She said: “This happens when your body can no longer control its own temperature because of overheating. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cool area, drink lots of water and, if you can, shower or sponge yourself with lukewarm water. Ask first aiders for advice if you’re worried about yourself or a friend.”