The NSW Health system is reminding people of a few simple measures to ensure they have a safe and healthy break.
NSW Health Deputy-Secretary Susan Pearce said the key to a happy and healthy holiday break is being prepared and knowing how to access the best pathways of care.
“Emergency Departments are operating as usual over the Christmas and New Year period to assist with urgent, unexpected conditions,” Ms Pearce said.
“In the case of a health emergency, people should call Triple Zero (000) but for other health concerns Healthdirect, on 1800 022 222, is an excellent source of assistance.
“Where the matter is not of a serious or life-threatening nature, patients are advised to see their local GP, medical centre or pharmacist.”
Ms Pearce said it was also important to make sure medications and prescriptions are also in order before the holiday period, especially if people are travelling away, and urged families to keep the 24-hour Healthdirect helpline in their phones.
Simple measures and precautions for a happy and healthy holiday season include:
- Moderating the consumption of alcohol, particularly on New Year’s Eve;
- Visiting a GP in the lead up to Christmas to ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications;
- Taking additional care on the roads and when participating in outdoor activities;
- Keeping a close eye on elderly relatives with impaired mobility in unfamiliar surroundings;
- Taking precautions on very hot days, such as maintaining hydration, minimising physical activity, wearing light clothing, avoiding alcohol, and staying indoors between 11am and 5pm, ideally in air conditioning;
- Supervising and keeping a watchful eye on children, particularly around water;
- Refrigerating food immediately, throwing out leftovers and carefully cleaning food preparation surfaces;
- Washing hands with soap and water before eating and preparing food, after using the toilet and after changing nappies; and
- Ensuring Christmas gifts, including bikes and skateboards, are accompanied with protective equipment such as helmets and knee pads.
Ms Pearce said holidays can also be a time of stress for many people, and a wide range of mental health supports are available for those who need help:
- Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 – 24 hours / 7 days a week for mental health assistance
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 24 hours /7 days a week for crisis support
- beyondblue on 1300 224 636 24 hours /7 days a week for and information.