Tomaree Community Hospital shares tips on how to stay out of the ED this summer

STAY HEALTHY: Presentations to Tomaree Community Hospital's emergency department can triple during the summer holiday period. Staff have shared some tips on how people can avoid a trip to the ED.
STAY HEALTHY: Presentations to Tomaree Community Hospital's emergency department can triple during the summer holiday period. Staff have shared some tips on how people can avoid a trip to the ED.

Tomaree Community Hospital staff are expecting to see more than 2500 people walk through the emergency department doors during the six week summer holiday period.

An additional 1500 people are also expected to access the medical centre, now called Port Stephens HealthOne, on the hospital grounds seeking advice on existing conditions, sunburn, cuts, grazes and stomach bugs.

"We have about 40,000 people on the peninsula at this time of year," Port Stephens Health Services manager Belinda Ferguson said.

"As a service, we put on additional doctors and nurses to assist. Most definitely presentations between double and triple this time of year."

Last summer, some of the most common presentations to the Nelson Bay-based hospital's ED were for bone fractures, trauma associated with new toys gifted at Christmas such as skateboards, bites, stings, food poisoning, particularly for food left sitting in the heat too long, cardiac conditions due to distress and overeating and heat-related issues such as dehydration.

Mental health was also another common presentation to the ED due to the stress caused at this time of year. Another common presentation to the ED is for sea life stings caused by bluebottles and sting rays.

Ms Ferguson said the hospital ED saw between four and eight presentations each day of the six week summer holiday period for such stings, particularly around the low tide time.

"A lot of people who visit the area are unfamiliar with the environment, the water," Ms Ferguson said. "It's important for everyone to check the water before they go swimming and to swim in patrolled areas."

Tomaree Community Hospital ED entrance.

Tomaree Community Hospital ED entrance.

To assist residents and visitors to Port Stephens in staying healthy during the summer holiday, Ms Ferguson shared some tips. She said people should take precautions on hot days such as staying hydrated, prevent sunburn, limiting physical activity and avoiding the heat of the day between 11am-5pm.

Limit or moderate the consumption of alcohol, particularly on hot days; take additional care when on the roads or participating in outdoor activities; wash hands with soap and water or sanitiser before eating or preparing food; carefully clean food preparation surfaces, cook meats all the way through, refrigerate food immediately and throw out leftovers.

Ms Ferguson said it was important for adults to supervise children, particularly around water, as well as keeping an eye on elderly relatives or neighbours.

She added that it was a good idea to have a basic first aid kit handy including creams for stings, bites and sunburn and to know the Healthdirect advice line number: 1800 022 222.

Tomaree Community Hospital holiday services:

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