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Stay safe this Christmas and avoid a holiday trip to the ED

Stay safe this Christmas and avoid a holiday trip to the ED

2022-12-15 08:19:14

Stay safe this Christmas and avoid a holiday trip to the ED

15th December 2022

North West Hospital and Health Service (HHS) is reminding the community to make the most of the Christmas break, while keeping safety at the forefront of their minds.

While many in the community enjoy a period of rest and relaxation over the Christmas and New Year period, the emergency department experiences a significant increase in presentations compared to the rest of the year.

Mount Isa Hospital Emergency Department Director Dr Ulrich Orda said common sense often went out the window during the Christmas and New Year period and risk-taking behaviour seemed to increase.

It was reported that between 24 December 2021 and 1 January 2022, 934 people presented to Mount Isa Hospital’s emergency department.

“We find that the Christmas and New Year period is very busy in any emergency department, with an increase in alcohol-related presentations,” he said.

“This could be people presenting intoxicated or with injuries resulting from assaults, car accidents, falls and other behaviours that might be related to alcohol.”

Visits to the hospital of other risky behaviours, like jumping from heights and diving into shallow water are also seen.

“We want the community to have fun at this time of the year and simply ask them to consider the consequences of their actions to themselves and others, and try to be a little more careful in their behaviour,” Dr Orda said.

“We don’t want to ruin the fun, we just want people to avoid hurting themselves as much as possible.’’

Dr Orda said with the hot weather there is an increase in pool use, which poses its own problems and risks.

“I would urge everyone with a pool at home to make sure their pools are properly fenced and that they learn the principles of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“Most importantly, keep an eye on young children at all times and never leave them in or around the pool, or any body of water, without supervision.

“Things can happen very quickly and kids are masters at slipping away when you aren’t looking.

“Never leave children or animals unattended in cars, especially with these scorching days. Temperatures can rise very rapidly and can be fatal in a surprisingly short period of time.’’

Dr Orda said the warm weather also created problems with food safety.

“With lots of food shared during the festive season, it’s important to remember that food spoils quickly and bacteria multiply very rapidly in the heat,’’ he said.

“If food has been left out for a period of time, you should think about throwing it out rather than putting it away to eat another time.

“Leftovers can taste great, but they can also lead to severe gastro-intestinal illness if not handled correctly.

“As a general rule, food should be kept chilled below 4 degrees Celsius, or heated above 50 degrees Celsius, and if you are in doubt, simply throw it out!”

A little common sense this Christmas and New Year period will ensure the community enjoys the break and hopefully diminishes the chances of ending up in an emergency department.