A busy holiday season ahead for St John

Robbie Walker |

St John is preparing for another busy holiday season and has some basic reminders for New Zealanders who are preparing for their summer holidays. The majority of incidents attended during December and January are related to sickness, falls, breathing problems, chest pain and unconsciousness.  
General sickness includes ongoing medical conditions or newly diagnosed conditions that have escalated without prior intervention. 
St John Clinical Operations Director Norma Lane reminds everyone to always call 111 in an emergency and urges people to be prepared when it comes to their health this holiday season.  
“People with ongoing medical conditions should see their GP for necessary checks including prescription medicine supplies before going on holiday,” Lane said. 
St John says to be prepared with a first aid kit and reminds the public to know their new temporary surroundings. 
“Acquaint yourself with your campground neighbours, work out who your support network is in an emergency and know your exact location in case we need to get to you,” Lane explained.  
The Christmas and New Year period is a time for relaxation and celebration but St John reminds people to celebrate sensibly. St John frontline paramedics all too often attend people who are suffering the effects of too much alcohol. These people account for a large proportion of the falls and unconscious categories in the top five incidents attended during the December/January period.  
“If you are going to drink, be sensible and enjoy yourself. Have a sober driver, drink equal quantities of water, tell your family where you will be and above all know your limits,” Lane added. 
Remember safety around BBQ’s which includes handling uncooked foods. It’s also important for the whole family to remember water safety this summer. 
St John wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season with friends and family so everyone is here for many future festive seasons. For first aid tips and to enrol in a first aid course go to www.stjohn.org.nz
For free health advice from a registered nurse, 24/7 call the Healthline number on 0800 611 116.

The top five incidents attended between 1 Dec 2014 and 31 Jan 2015 (nationally): 
1. Sickness – 5,582 patients
2. Falls – 5,664 patients
3. Breathing problems – 4,790 patients
4. Chest pain – 4,611 patients
5. Unconsciousness – 4,523 patients

Tips for burns from the BBQ
• Firstly, make sure that everyone is safe and away from the BBQ.
• Run cool (not ice cold) water over the burn for a minimum of twenty minutes. Use a tap, a hose or a shower. If water is not available, use any cool non-toxic fluid i.e. soft drinks or beer. 
• Remove any jewellery (i.e. rings or watch) from the burnt area.
• Do not remove clothing if it appears to be stuck to the burnt area.
• If possible, wrap the burnt area in cling film (i.e. glad wrap) after cooling for twenty minutes.
• Call 111 for an ambulance if the burnt area is larger than the patient’s hand or if they are in severe pain.

Tips for preparing food
• Wash your hands before preparing food
• Be extra careful with higher risk foods 
• Refrigerate and reheat the food you take home
• Store your food safely by following the manufacturers instructions
• Take extra care with food safety at large gatherings
• Keep your food safe in warm weather
• Avoid preparing food for others when you’re sick
• Keep your food safe during power cuts, floods and other emergencies

Robbie Walker 
St John Senior Communications Advisor National & Northern Region
T: 09 526 0528 ext 8746
E: robbie.walker@stjohn.org.nz 
M: 027 290 9764

Subscribe to our RSS FeedUrgent call: help fuel this vital serviceSt John first aid TrainingFeel Safe with a St John medical alarm