Festivalgoers fall victim to the heat

WATER’S not the preferred beverage of choice for many at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, but ask St John Ambulance volunteers in Peel St and they’ll tell you it’s vital to avoid falling victim to the heat.

With one of the hottest starts to the festival in years, volunteers have already seen the consequences of too much sun and not enough fluids – clear fluids, that is.

St John Ambulance event commander Peter Cameron told The Leader that heat stress and ehydration had made up the majority of cases they’d seen.

With temperatures to remain in the 30s into the weekend and climbing into the mid to high 30s early 

next week, Hunter New England Health public health physician David Durrheim said the elderly, young and those with chronic health conditions were most at risk.

Dr Durrheim said the body needed 1.5 to 2.5 litres of water a day to stay properly hydrated, but if you were out and about in high temperatures, even more was needed.

Signs of heat stress include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, confusion and most seriously, the body ceasing to sweat, at which point emergency treatment needs to be sought immediately.

St John Ambulance is well-placed to handle the medical mishaps of festivalgoers, with a total of 35 volunteers for the 10 days, from Tamworth, Armidale, Taree, Newcastle, Sydney and Kingscliff.

Mr Cameron said the majority of the out-of-towners returned year after year.

They work in two shifts a day, with aid posts in Peel St, Bicentennial Park, the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre and West Tamworth League Club.

Each post has a full complement of medical equipment,  from cold water and bandaids. to oxygen units and defibrillators. The Peel St site even has a medicab on hand.

For festivalgoers who’ve no intention of slowing down for the next four days, the forecast is for 32 today, then rain tomorrow and a top of 29, which could bring some cool relief.

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