For the latest COVID-19 impacts across North West HHS, including vaccination information, click here.
More pages in this section
Stay safe this Christmas and avoid a holiday trip to the ED
With the festive season approaching, North West Hospital and Health Service are urging the community to enjoy the Christmas break by keeping safety at the forefront of their minds.
While the Christmas and New Year period is typically a time of rest and relaxation, it’s often the opposite in the emergency department which experiences a significant increase in presentations compared to the rest of the year.
Mount Isa Hospital Emergency Department Co-Director Dr Jay Mueller said common sense often went out the window and risk-taking behaviour seemed to increase over the Christmas and New Year period.
He said a total of 826 people presented to Mount Isa Hospital’s emergency department (ED) between 24 December 2020 and 1 January 2021.
“Traditionally, the Christmas and New Year periods are very busy periods in any emergency department,’’ Dr Mueller said.
“Typically, we see an increase in alcohol-related attendances. This could be people presenting intoxicated or with injuries resulting from assaults, car accidents, falls and other behaviours that might be related to alcohol.”
In addition to intoxication, the results of a number of other risky behaviours are seen like jumping from heights and diving into shallow water.
“We would ask the community to consider the consequences of their actions to themselves and others, and just try to be a little more careful in their behaviour,” Dr Mueller said.
“We don’t want to ruin the fun, we just want people to avoid hurting themselves as much as possible.’’
Dr Mueller said with the summer 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,’’ he said.
“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.
“It can happen so quickly. Kids are masters at slipping away when you aren’t looking and pools and creeks are like magnets to them.
“Remember to never leave children or animals unattended in cars in the heat. Temperatures can rise very rapidly and can be fatal in a surprisingly short period of time.’’
Dr Mueller said the warm weather also created problems with food handling.
“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.
“So don’t leave food lying around for long. 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 later.
“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. If in doubt, throw it out!”
Dr Mueller said just a little common sense and some compassion would make the Christmas and New Year period a pleasure for everyone and hopefully diminish the chances of ending up in an emergency department.