FILE

Avoid spending Christmas in the Warwick ED

AS WE prepare to eat, drink and be merry, health experts are calling on Warwick residents to celebrate sensibly after last year's Christmas festivities ended in the emergency department for dozens of people.

Stitches and surgical dressings, ear infections, urinary tract infections, suicidal thoughts and allergies were the most common reasons for a trip to the Warwick Hospital Emergency Department in the 2015 Christmas holidays.

On Boxing Day last year, 65 patients went to the Warwick ED - compared with 53 on an average day - and six of these were admitted to hospital for further treatment.

Last Christmas Day 31 patients went through the ED and five of these were admitted to hospital.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Chris Zappala said people drinking more alcohol and taking more risks contributed to busy EDs during the holidays.

"A few more people tend to have a bit more spare time on their hands so they partake in activities they wouldn't usually partake in,” Dr Zappala said.

"They do more adventurous things at this time of year and come a cropper.”

Dr Zappala said using commonsense and not drinking to excess would reduce the chances of a Christmas trip to hospital.

"It's always a little worse at this time of year so we need to remember what those safe drinking guidelines are,” he said.

Dr Zappala also urged residents to remember family members and people in the community who were disadvantaged or ostracised at Christmas and keep an eye on those vulnerable in the heat.

"Enjoy yourself but just remember those people less fortunate and bring them into the fold,” he said.

A Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said the Christmas-new year holiday period was a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends but it was important to celebrate in moderation.

"Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to a range of health concerns, and it can also lead to risk-taking behaviour, which may result in injuries,” the spokesperson said.

"It is also advisable to follow all safety precautions or instructions and use appropriate protective devices when using new equipment you may be unfamiliar with.”

Dr Zappala thanked the ED staff who would be working this Christmas Day and taking time out from their families.

"A huge thank you to those individuals who help us all when we get into scrapes in the holiday season,” he said.

People with non-urgent conditions are encouraged to see a GP or go to a pharmacy for assistance. In an emergency, phone 000 and ask for an ambulance. If you are unsure whether you need to go to an ED, phone 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice.

HEALTHY HOLIDAYS

  • Ensure you have enough medication to last over public holidays.
  • Keep hydrated and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
  • Wash your hands and dry thoroughly before handling any food.
  • Don't risk food poisoning by eating dodgy leftovers. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Supervise children around pools, dams and at the beach.
  • Keep batteries out of reach of children.
  • Look out for friends, family and neighbours who might need help.

ARM NEWSDESK