With the festive season upon us, North West health authorities have issued a call for common sense and care to prevail during the holidays.
Mount Isa Hospital Director of Emergency Dr Ulrich Orda said common sense often went out the window and risk-taking behaviour seemed to explode over the Christmas-New Year period.
He said 707 people presented to Mount Isa Hospital’s emergency department in the Christmas week last year up from 690 the year before.
“Traditionally, the Christmas and New Year periods can be very busy periods in any emergency department,’’ Dr Orda said.
“We tend to see an increase in alcohol-related attendances – either in terms of people presenting intoxicated or with injuries resulting from assaults, motor vehicle accidents, falls and other risky behaviours that might be related to alcohol.”
Dr Orda said as well as intoxication, they also saw the results of increased risk-taking behaviour that accompanies public holiday periods even when people aren’t intoxicated.
“These include people hurting themselves jumping from heights, or diving into shallow water or engaging in a whole range of larrikin behaviour that they normally wouldn’t do,” he said.
“We would ask people to consider the consequences of their actions – on themselves and others – and just try to be a little more moderate and careful in their behaviour.
“We don’t want to be killjoys; we just want people to avoid hurting themselves as much as possible.’’
Dr Orda said with the warmer weather, pool use was increasing and bringing with it its own problems and risks.
“I would urge everyone to make sure pools at home are properly fenced and that they learn the principles of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation,’’ he said.
“But most important of all, if there are young children involved, never leave them in or around the pool, or any body of water, unsupervised. Keep an eye on them at all times.
“It can happen so quickly. Kids are masters at slipping away when you aren’t looking and pools or creeks or billabongs are like magnets to them.
Dr Orda urged people not to leave children or animals unattended in cars in the heat and the warm weather also created problems with food handling.
“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.”