More than 80,000 people a year need hospital treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts and burns during the festive period. During Christmas, your home is likely to be full of people and, in the excitement, accidents can easily happen.
“We want to help people prevent their festivities being cut short by a trip to A&E,” says Sheila Merrill, home safety manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
“Our message is that the home should be as safe as necessary, rather than as safe as possible. With a little more care and forward planning, most accidents could be avoided.
Wounds and Bleeding
Opening presents, chopping vegetables and assembling toys can all be very hazardous…..especially if your vision is obscured by your Christmas hat or you’ve had a few to many glasses of bucks fizz!!! Make sure you have a well stocked first aid kit to cover the whole family and remember blood can SEEP form the body!!!
- S – Sit or lay your casualty down as they may be feeling a bit weak or faint
- E – Examine the wound to see if there is anything in it or if it may require a trip to A&E
- E – Elevate the wound to reduce the amount of blood
- P– Put direct pressure on the wound to limit the blood flow
When you’re treating a wound make sure the dressing is bigger than the wound and that the bandage part covers the whole dressing so bacteria can’t get in. Keep the wound elevated for as long as possible, across the chest is fine. If the casualty becomes very pale and confused, lay them down and elevate their legs slightly to increase the blood flow to the brain. If you are at all concerned you can call 111 for advice or 999 for an ambulance.
Hot fat and boiling water can make the kitchen a very dangerous place. Make sure you limit the amount of people in the kitchen, especially children. We all love candles at Christmas as they create a wonderful atmosphere but make sure they are away from children and flying bits of wrapping paper and toys. If some one does burn themselves, follow the following tips….
- Cool the burn for at least 10 mins under running cold water
- Remove any jewellery around or near to the burnt area but DO NOT remove clothing that is stuck to the wound
- Once the burn is cooled, place cling film over it to keep it sterile. Applying burn creams isn’t something we would recommend but if you choose to, please read the instructions VERY carefully
- If the burn is bigger than the palm of the casualties hand (1% of their body size) we advise that you see a medical professional. This doesn’t mean waiting in A&E for hours as you could always pop to your local walk in centre or make an appointment at your GP surgery
Again, if you are unsure or concerned please call 999 for advice!
Slips, Trips and Falls
Once the presents are open they are usually scattered around the house or placed on the stairs ready to take up to our rooms, which can cause the ever threatening trip hazard. Try to keep the stairs clear especially if you and your guests are having to go upstairs to use the bathroom and if you can, give the children a room or a particular area to play in. If an accident does happen, follow the following tips….
- Treat any bleeding wounds as mentioned in the above Wounds and Bleeding section
- If you can see a lump or disfigurement in a limb there may be a broken bone (fracture) or a dislocation. DO NOT try to move it or pop it back in place. If you can drive them to A&E do so, otherwise call 999
- If someone does fall down the stairs, DO NOT move them and call 999
If someone sprains an ankle or wrist, follow the following tips….
- Protect the injured area from further injury by using a support or (in the case of an ankle injury) wearing shoes that enclose and support the feet, such as lace-ups
- Rest by stopping the activity that caused the injury and rest the injured joint or muscle. Avoid activity for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury was afflicted
- Ice for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, apply ice wrapped in a damp towel to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours during the day. Do not leave the ice on whilst sleeping, and do not allow the ice to touch the skin directly, because it could cause a cold burn.
- Compress or bandage the injured area to limit any swelling and movement that could damage it further. Use a simple elastic bandage or elasticated tubular bandage. It should be wrapped snuggly around the affected area, but not so tightly that it restricts blood flow. Remove the bandage before going to sleep.
- Elevate by keeping the injured area raised and supported to help reduce swelling
As well as the usual alcohol and food poisoning you may also come across poisoning from plants. The berries on Mistletoe contain toxic proteins that slow the heart rate and can cause hallucinations. The Christmas Rose was once used by the ancient Greeks as a chemical weapon because of its effectiveness to cause diarrhoea!!!!
How to recognise poisoning….
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Breathing difficulties
- Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
- Rapid heart rate
You can treat poisoning at home by getting the casualty to rest and drink lots of water. If you are concerned you can call 111 for advice or 999 for an ambulance. If you do make the call, try to have the following information ready for them….
- What have they been poisoned by?
- When did they come into contact with it?
- How they came into contact with it eg: Swallowed, inhaled, absorbed by the skin etc?
- How much was taken?
- Casualties age, weight and any medical conditions
Nowadays people can be allergic to many different drinks, foods and ingredients. Over Christmas there may be food and drink that people have never tried before so it’s important you can spot an allergic reaction, otherwise know as Anaphylaxis. There are many ways to recognise an allergic reaction, some more severe than others….
- Itchy skin
- A raised red rash
- Swollen areas of the body including the mouth, throat and tongue
- Feeling weak and faint
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and Vomiting
Once you have recognised that it’s an allergic reaction, give them an antihistamine of some sort or Calpol if they are a child. Your Pharmacist can give you advice or you can call 111. If the reaction is affecting their breathing or they become unconscious call 999 straight away!!!
There are many things that we can choke on but as the tradition of putting 5 pence pieces in the Christmas pudding is becoming more common, choking is becoming more common over the festive period. Have a look at the great videos below for the treatment of choking for adults, children and babies.
- Treatment for a choking adult (over 16) and Children (over 12 months old and can stand on their own)
- Babies (new born to 12 months old)
What about our four legged friends?
If you are anything like us, our four legged friends have as much fun at Christmas as we do! A dogs favorite trick is to have a nibble on anything that’s lying around……and that could include the deadly Christmas chocolate! Have a read of one our previous blogs, First Aid knowledge doesn’t just benefit humans….a guide to Pet First Aid for more information of how to keep our pets safe over Christmas.
We hope you have a fantastic and safe Christmas and a happy New Year!!!!!!