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The STS blog

19 Dec 2017

Christmas Time First Aid

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‘Twas the lead up to Christmas and we at STS decided to keep you safe this holiday season. Here’s a few tips regarding some potential festive first aid faux pas’.

Broken Bone

You’re on your way up to Grandmas front door with presents in one hand and Christmas puddings in the other. It’s icy. Really icy. You slip and land painfully with your ankle bent at a strange angle behind you.

Depending on the injury, we may not know straight away that it’s broken. You don’t need us to tell you that if there’s a bone coming through the skin it’s pretty obvious but it may not be quite that clear.

It may start to swell and become bruised which looks similar to a sprain. Usually we can tell due to how the injury happened. Impact on an area may be more likely to be a break whereas a sudden, unusual movement i.e. twisting is more likely to be a sprain. In this instance, impact has caused the upset so we’ll assume a break.

Treatment is simple. Keep the injured area still and supported comfortably and take a trip to A&E. Minimal movement is important regardless of where on the body this is. However, a broken leg may require an ambulance whereas a broken wrist may not.

Head Injury

NB: This does not include hangovers.

However this head injury has occurred be it a drunken stumble or a particularly aggressive game of Monopoly, treatment is easy yet very important.

If there’s a bump on the head, the most effective way to treat it is with a cold compress or an ice pack to help reduce the swelling. However this isn’t the most vital part of the first aid.

With head injuries, monitoring the casualty is absolute key. We’re looking for certain signs and symptoms that show us the injury may be getting worse. Are they particularly drowsy? Are they acting out of sorts, maybe not quite themselves? Are they throwing up and complaining of a headache that won’t shift?

If any of these things are present, we need to get them to a hospital. If they’re deteriorating quickly, call 999. Otherwise you can take them to A&E if you’re worried at any point. It’s better to be sat there for two hours and find out that nothing is wrong than to avoid going completely and find out later that something was seriously wrong. We don’t take head injuries lightly.

Hypothermia

Hopefully something we’ll be able to avoid if we’re tucked up next to the fire with a hot chocolate. But think for a second of those who maybe aren’t quite to lucky to have that luxury.

When our body temperature drops from around 37.5 to below 35 degrees, we can be classed as hypothermic. It doesn’t take much.

If there are people sleeping on the street, you can see how this may not be quite so easy to avoid.

The most important thing to treat this condition is simply to warm this person up.

They need lots of layers. They need warm drinks with no alcohol. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not warm up the body and can potentially make this situation worse. We’re talking things like sweet tea, hot chocolate. A hat could help as we do lose a lot of heat from our heads. Not sitting directly on the floor so perhaps a coat underneath them as well as around them. If possible, get the person suffering indoors and away from the environment causing the problem.

Usually we encourage you to call 999 as well. If the body temperature continues to drop they’ll need further medical intervention.

We hope that your holidays go ahead without any emergencies but know that you can handle them if it comes down to it.

Party lots, eat more and have a very Merry Christmas!