How to stay out of the emergency department this Christmas

A broken leg tangled in Christmas lights, a side serving of salmonella, an excreting toy battery and a partridge in a pear tree.
Nanjing Night Net

These are the festive traditions we need to break.

Health authorities have released a list of the most common Christmas health risks in an effort to keep people with avoidable illnesses and injuries out of hospital over the holiday break.

As the smell of fruit mince pies and turkey roast rouses us from our working lives and we slip into holiday mode, a momentary lapse in concentration can land us in the emergency department, NSW Health has warned.

“During the festive season, people do more than they normally would, consume more than they normally would, and take more risks than they normally would,” NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

“A trip to the hospital emergency ward is not how anyone should spend Christmas.” Falls, pools and broken bones

A fall form a ladder while hanging decorations could lead to a devastating injury. Photo: Maarten Holl

Toppling off chairs and ladders while hanging Christmas decorations is one of the most common reasons many people wind up in hospital over Christmas.

A simple slip form a ladder while hanging Christmas lights could cause a devastating injury – even death – when families should be celebrating, Dr Chant said.

As the glorious summer weather coaxes revellers into the sun, falling off a dirt bike and accidents in swimming pools become more frequent.

Adults should also steer clear of riding children’s Christmas toys.

“If you don’t know how to ride a skateboard, it’s going to hurt when you hit the ground,” Dr Chant said.  Children choking on tiny toys

A children’s toy ring that falls apart very easily exposing the 3 batteries inside, a potential choking hazard. Photo: Stuart Ryan

Parents should keep an eye out for Christmas toys with small or easily broken parts that could be swallowed or stuffed up a child’s nasal passage by tiny fingers. Strings or cords attached to new toys can also pose a strangulation risk.

Loud toys blaring too close the delicate eardrums, and high-pressure water guns squirted at close range into children’s eyes were were also Christmas tidings to be avoided.

Liquid leaking from glow sticks could also damage little eyes.

“If you already have one the risk is best managed by putting it in the bin,” an ACCC spokesperson said. Poisonings

Salmonella, an unwanted dinner guest. Photo: Rocky Mountain Laboratories,NIAID,NIH

Unwanted Christmas dinner guests Salmonella and Campylobacter can be an issue if food isn’t frozen or refrigerated properly. Keep raw and cooked foods separate and make sure you wash your hands before and after handling food.

Parents should also watch out for small batteries and liquids leaking in toys. Animal bites

Spider bites were a common reason for a trip to the emergency department over the Christmas holidays. Photo: Rick Stevens

Be aware of children playing with pets, as even usually well-behaved pets may bite in situations they find overwhelming.

Insect, spider and snake bites were also common triggers for a holiday trip to the emergency department.  Alcohol mishaps

“Definitely don’t do anything that requires your full attention while you are under the influence of alcohol,” Dr Chant warned.

A few cold beers might be the difference between staying upright on that ladder or breaking a leg.

Watch you intake and drink plenty of water, NSW Health warned.  Burns

Stay focused around hot stove tops and ovens when cooking a Christmas feast. Photo: Supplied.

Pay attention while you are cooking and be aware when children are around. Don’t leave children unattended near hot stoves, grills, barbecues and cooking appliances.

Wear sunscreen, a hat and protective clothing, and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, and

Elderly relatives may also not cope well in the heat.  If you’re away over the break make sure someone can check in on them every now and again. Mental health check-in

Yes it’s a wonderful time of year but it can also be incredibly stressful. The pressures and worries of the holidays can trigger depression and an increased risk of self harm. Be kind to yourselves, and look after your loved ones.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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