Ensure you and your family enjoy a safe summer holiday by preparing for common emergencies. The faster you act, the better the outcome.
Whether hitting the beaches or pools this holiday, always ensure you do so safely. Here are some tips:
- Never leave children unsupervised near water.
- Stay within arm’s length from little children.
- Make sure that children don’t play rough in the pool and jump on top of one another.
- Adults who supervise must be able to swim as well.
- Remember that anyone, including people who can swim, is at risk of drowning
- Avoid taking risks and being overconfident.
Burns are painful wounds that can be life-threatening and can take a long time to heal, often leaving the patient with life-long scarring.
Burns can be classified on the depth and severity of how they damage the skin.
- Superficial – These burns only affect the outer layer of the skin or epidermis. The skin will present as red, painful and dry.
- Partial – These burns harm the epidermis and dermis, presenting as red, blistered skin, which may also be swollen and painful.
- Full-thickness – This burn destroys the epidermis and dermis and may damage the underlying tissue. The burn area will appear charred. Often there is little to no pain as the nerve endings have been damaged.
Unfortunately, the treatment for burns can be a long process, depending on the type of injury. Quick action and prompt transport can minimise the damage that a burn can cause. Here are a few tips on how to treat burns.
- Cool the burn area with cool tap water.
- Once cooled, apply an approved burn ointment to the site.
- Cover the burn area with a moist dressing.
- For moderate and severe burns, call 084 124 for further medical attention.
Bites and Stings
The biggest risk associated with bee stings is that the small amount of venom they release may trigger an allergic reaction and lead to anaphylaxis, a severe life-threatening allergic reaction.
Anaphylaxis occurs when your body develops a severe allergic reaction to something, such as food, medication or stings. Symptoms include:
- Swelling of the tongue, throat, body
- Suddenly developing a hoarse voice
- Rash, often itchy hives and/or redness
- Feeling lightheaded or fainting episodes
- Tight chest, wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Abnormally fast heartbeat
- Clammy skin
- Vomiting or stomach pain
- Sense of impending doom
If someone in your family experiences any of the above symptoms after a sting:
- Administer auto-injectable epinephrine (adrenaline) if it has previously been prescribed and is on hand. (In some people who are high risk or suffered previous life-threatening allergic events, doctors will likely have given them adrenalin to keep on hand in case of emergency in the form of an EpiPen, as early intervention is imperative), and
- Lie the person down with their feet elevated, and,
- Call an ambulance urgently.
Heat injuries can occur when our bodies lose necessary body fluids when our bodies produce sweat. These injuries can be severe and can lead to death if untreated.
The signs and symptoms of heat injuries are:
Here are a few tips to beat the heat:
- Stay well hydrated by drinking a lot of water.
- Keep a close eye on babies, the elderly and children. Ensure they stay well hydrated as well.
- Remember to ensure pets have a cool place to relax and cool, clean water to drink.
- Try to keep out of direct sunlight.
- Wear the appropriate clothing and ensure you use sunscreen.
- Limit participation in outdoor activities. If you plan on participating in outdoor activities, rest and keep hydrated.
- If you are going to spend time in a pool, ensure your safety and that of the children around you.
- Ensure that they are supervised while around and in the pool.
- Do not leave children and pets in a vehicle, even with open windows.