FILE

Silly season injuries keep Sunshine Coast EDs busy

OUR dedicated doctors and nurses are preparing for a hectic Christmas holiday period as festive celebrations drive up patient numbers in Sunshine Coast hospitals.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service's emergency departments at Nambour General Hospital, Caloundra Health Service and Gympie Hospital had more than 130 extra patients on Boxing Day alone last year.

SCHHS director of emergency medicine Dr Stephen Priestley said their highly skilled team was committed to providing clinical excellence to patients across the three EDs, where 321 people were seen on an average day.

"This compares with 330 presentations on Christmas Day 2015 and 435 presentations on Boxing Day 2015, making both these days very busy,” Dr Priestley said.

Gastroenteritis, chest pain, urinary tract infections and minor head injuries were the most common diagnoses during the last festive season.

Dr Priestley said emergency departments were busy places and patients were treated according to how urgent their condition was.

"For example, patients with trauma injuries from a road accident or those with severe illnesses will take priority over more minor complaints,” he said.

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.

He 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