Staying safe over the break
Published at: 21 Dec 2018
The Christmas and New Year period in Australia - especially in the bush - can be a time of intense heat, meaning there are a range of health risks to be aware of during the holidays.
GV Health’s Dr Mark Patterson, who celebrates three years with the hospital in February, said that the GV Health Emergency Department (ED) is a fast paced, busy environment which generally sees an increase in a wide range of admissions related to the hotter months.
“During summer we see sporting injuries and an increase in snake bites, for starters,” Dr Patterson said.
“Heat is the big one, really, in terms of preventable issues.”
Extreme heat causes more deaths in Australia than natural disasters.
Those most at risk are the elderly, young children and those with existing health conditions.
“Dehydration is the big one,” Dr Patterson said.
“It’s very important to reinforce that people stay very well hydrated, stay in the shade and regularly apply sunscreen.”
Those playing sport in particular should take care to ensure they’re drinking enough water and taking regular breaks between periods of exertion.
Dr Patterson, who trained at Sunshine Hospital in the western suburbs of Melbourne, said that heat can also be a big factor when combined with the potential for over-indulgence associated with the festive season.
“That really can be made worse by the heat and dehydration,” he said.
“Festivities combined with excessive use of drugs or alcohol are always a bad combination.”
Road trauma is also a concern during busy like the Christmas and New Year break.
“If you’re travelling for the holidays, try to stay calm,” Dr Patterson said.
“It’s better to arrive a bit later than injured, or worse.”
Common sense is key when considering you and your family’s wellbeing during the holiday season.
“It’s the same everywhere,” Dr Patterson said.
“Stay hydrated, stay cool, stay calm and be sensible when it comes to celebrations.
"We don’t want to see you or a loved one in the ED this Christmas!”