Kapi-Mana News : January 10th 2012
14 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JANUARY 10, 2012 FEATURE Think ahead to keep summer safe CONTINUED Page 15 What do bee stings, dead dogs, drownings and family violence have in common? They're all threats that can spike during the summer, according to those look- ing out for us. Each year the media is bombarded with safety messages from organisations across New Zealand in the hope of educating the public. Many of them find their way into newspapers, but due to the sheer volume, or perhaps repetitiveness of the message, many don't. So in an effort to acknowledge their efforts and do our bit for public safety, we have compiled a selective, by no means exhaustive, list of how to survive summer. Top of the list must be drowning. Last summer 55 people drowned in New Zealand, compared with 87 for the year. Over the recent festive break -- Christmas Eve until January 4 -- nine people, all men, drowned. Water Safety New Zealand's top tips for not becoming a statistic are: learn to swim (speaks for itself really); supervise children near water and keep within sight and reach (preschool children have one of the highest drowning rates); swim between flags at patrolled beaches and listen to advice from lifeguards and don't swim alone. Don't jump or dive into rivers before checking what's below the surface. If you get caught in a current, don't fight it but head downstream till you can get out. Check depth before diving into swimming pools. Boating-related drownings make up 15 per cent of drownings each year. WSNZ says life jackets are a must. In addition, boats should be well maintained and carry two means of communi- cation and flares. Skippers should check conditions and tell someone on land when they will be back. Barbecues will be out in force over summer and the fire service reminds people not to leave cooking unattended or drink and fry, and to check smoke alarms. To treat burns, St John says flood the area with cool water for 20 minutes. If no water, any cool clean fluid (beer, soft drink etc) or a first aid burn gel may be used. Call 111 for an ambulance if the patient is badly injured, the burn is causing significant pain, involves the eyes or is larger than half the patient's arm. Sunburn is perhaps the most common threat of summer. As well as possibly leading to skin cancer (New Zealand has one of the highest rates in the world), it can be painful and plain unsightly. St John attended to 161 serious sunburn incidents at events last summer and say there is no useful treatment to reduce the burn or take away the damage and to seek medical aid if the per- son is feeling very unwell or if large blisters appear. Keeping the skin well moisturised may provide some relief and may reduce peel- ing. Plunket recommends parents keep babies in the shade, use a sun shade on the buggy and make young children wear hats and cover up with clothes. Restrict sun exposure, particularly from 11am till 4pm and use sunscreen. Plunket national child safety advisor Sue Campbell urges drivers to check for children before driving out driveways. Every two weeks a child is hospitalised with serious injuries received from a vehicle driving on a private driveway in New Zea- land and not just as a result of a vehicle reversing. In at least 32 per cent of cases the car was mov- ing forward.'' Parents should also be on the lookout when staying with other people, particularly the risk of poisoning from medication or chemicals at places not child- proofed. Signs of poisoning are an altered level of consciousness, burns around or in the mouth, stomach or abdominal pain and vomiting. St John says do not induce vomiting and do not give the patient anything to drink unless told to do so by the Ambu- lance Communications Centre or National Poisons Centre, 0800 764 766. If person is uncon- scious, place them on their side and call 111. For some people even a simple bee sting can be fatal, others can suffer significant pain.
January 3rd 2012
January 17th 2012