With Christmas and New Year just days away, as families head off on holidays and children start playing with new toys gifted on Christmas day, the Wesley Emergency Centre is reminding our community to take extra care this festive season.
Wesley Emergency Centre physician, Assistant Professor Luke Jeremijenko, will be working in Emergency this Christmas and shared some of the common injuries and illnesses he expects to see – some of which are entirely preventable.
“We commonly see children with broken bones and other injuries from new scooters, bikes and trampolines. The rise in popularity of electric scooters and skateboards marketed for children, but which travel in excess of 25km per hour, is very concerning to us,” A/Prof Jeremijenko said.
“To help avoid broken wrists and other injuries, children should wear wrist guards and helmets when riding their new bike or scooter, and young children should always be supervised by an adult while playing.
“Other common Christmas afternoon presentations in children are for serious injuries to the eyes from high velocity blaster guns. These toys present a very high risk for eye injury and eye protection should be worn.”
But it’s not just children who commonly present to emergency on Christmas day.
“We also see adults often with alcohol related injuries and illnesses, including broken ankles and ribs, and sometimes severe neck injuries from jumping into pools. Alcohol and water, such as pools and the beach, do not mix,” A/Prof Jeremijenko said.
“For women who are pregnant this Christmas, it’s important to be mindful of foods being consumed, ensuring they are safely prepared, stored and refrigerated. Expectant mothers should be careful eating soft cheeses and seafood platters. Food poisoning is often seen after lunch, which may be a bit uncomfortable for mum, but very concerning for baby.”
With COVID-19 cases increasing in our community, Assistant Professor Jeremijenko stressed the importance of also doing everything we can to help keep each other COVID-safe.
“Firstly, and most importantly, if you are experiencing any symptoms at all, it’s really important that you go and get a formal PCR test immediately at a testing centre,” A/Prof Jeremijenko said.
“If you are worried about visiting an elderly relative or someone who is immunocompromised these holidays, it’s a good idea to take a Rapid Antigen Test before you visit. These tests are available at pharmacies and grocery stores and can help alleviate some of the anxiety we might feel about spending time with our loved ones who are vulnerable.
“We wish all families a safe summer and festive season, but we are here all the time to care for you and your family in an emergency.”
Our top tips for a safe summer
- Be careful using new Christmas toys like trampolines and scooters. Adults should always supervise children while using this play equipment.
- Drink alcohol responsibly and look out for your mates. Have a glass of water between drinks and try some zero alcohol options.
- In the warm weather, make sure food is properly refrigerated.
- If you’re pregnant, be careful to ensure leftovers are eaten within 24 hours and are heated through thoroughly.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Young children and babies are at greater risk of becoming dehydrated than adults.
- Be sun smart by wearing a hat and sunscreen.
- Swim between the flags and always supervise children around water, including pools, dams and at the beach.
- Keep an eye out for your elderly neighbours and family members.
- Wear a mask when indoors and in crowded areas, practise excellent hand hygiene and social distancing. Socialise outdoors as much as possible and book in for your COVID-19 vaccination booster dose when you’re eligible.
Whether it’s a sudden accident, illness, injury or pain, the Wesley Emergency Centre is available 24/7, 365 days a year to patients of all ages.