Friday 24th December 2010
With the Big day nearly upon us, St John Ambulance in Derbyshire has issued some festive tips to help people enjoy an injury-free Christmas and New Year.
"Putting up decorations, wrapping presents, playing with new gadgets and carving the turkey can turn a joyous occasion into a disaster with injuries ranging from cuts through to heart attacks," said Commander Chris Poole.
"Children under five and people over 65 are most likely to have an accident in the home, and on average approximately 80,000 people will go to hospital over Christmas and the New Year.
"We believe that anyone who needs first aid should get it but only two out of three people would know what to do in an emergency. St John Ambulance is determined to be the difference between lives lost and lives saved so we have come up with some basic first aid for a number of common festive injuries."
The leading first aid charity, which trained nearly 20,000 people across the county in life saving first aid skills in 2010, will be working all over Christmas - with volunteers on duty at events throughout the festive season including carol concerts and Boxing Day sporting events such as the Matlock Bath raft race.
So ... here are ways to make sure that Christmas is enjoyable AND safe this year:
- Take care when carving the turkey - if you cut yourself, cover the wound with a clean dressing and apply pressure. If bleeding persists, seek further medical help.
- If someone suffers an electric shock when putting up Christmas lights (inside or outside) isolate the electricity and seek further medical advice.
- If children get bikes or roller blades make sure they wear a helmet to protect their head from an injury if they fall. If they fall and hit their head and you are concerned, seek further medical advice.
- Beware burns from flaming Christmas puddings. Always run a minor burn under cold water for AT LEAST 10 minutes, and if the burn is still hot, continue to cool down in 10 minute cycles. Serious burns should also be cooled down and require hospital treatment.
- Make sure your cupboards are stocked with pain killers, indigestion tablets, Calpol for children and other remedies as chemists and doctors may be shut. You should also make sure that your first aid kit is fully stocked and in date.
- Symptoms of indigestion and a heart attack can be similar so it's important to establish the type of discomfort being experienced.
The key symptoms of a heart attack are tightness in the chest and pain that spreads out from the chest to the arms or jaw. Sweating and shortness of breath is also common.
If you suspect someone is having a heart attack, prompt action is vital. Call 999 immediately and, if the person is conscious, give them a single aspirin tablet to chew (300mg) unless you know they are allergic to it.
- If someone is choking, it's important to ask them if they are choking and always encourage them to cough. If they are unable to speak, cough or breathe give five blows to the back.
If this doesn't work, give up to five abdominal thrusts by standing behind the casualty, while ensuring they remain leaning forwards, and putting both arms around the upper part of her abdomen.
Clench your fist and place it between the navel and the bottom of the breastbone. Hold onto your fist with your other hand and pull sharply inwards and upwards up to five times.
Check the mouth again. If, after repeating three cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts, the obstruction does not clear, dial 999 for an ambulance and continue until it arrives.
- Wrap up well for winter walks - hypothermia can set in easily among the elderly and young children. Always take a mobile phone to call for help in case of emergency
St John Ambulance runs a comprehensive range of first aid courses in Derbyshire, teaching you how to deal with a number of scenarios including management of unconscious casualties, resuscitation, heart attacks, bleeding, and burns.
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