Christmas is nearly upon us again; that annual consumer festival of last minute frenzied shopping, trying to find a gift for aged grandparents and small toddlers, standing in huge queues in supermarkets, worrying about whether you have enough food and drink in the house, wrestling with stuffing and turkeys etc.
I sound very cynical, but really I love Christmas: the decorations, the smell of pine trees, mulled wine and cinnamon. There is something delightful about seeing the excitement on small children’s faces as they count down the sleeps till Father Christmas arrives.
You might therefore be surprised to learn that amongst all the jollity and goodwill, Christmas heralds a wealth of opportunities to injure oneself in the comfort of your own home.
Each year hundreds of people are injured over the festive season and the home appears to be one of the most dangerous places to be.
Injuries include those caused by:
Kitchens – cuts from carving the turkey, burns from hot fat, poisoning from undercooked food and buffets that have been left out all day
Choking – at least one person a year chokes on their turkey!
Slips, trips and falls as we clamber over piles of toys etc
Stairs – from clutter left on them, and falling down them in new slippers or after too much alcohol
Decorations – fairy lights can cause house fires – 47 house fires were caused last year by decorations
Presents – cuts to hands and fingers are common as people take knives and scissors to open plastic packaging
Alcohol – drink driving, falls,drinking to excess.
Sometimes it seems that the stress of trying to achieve the “Perfect Christmas” ensures that by the time the day comes around we are all exhausted with fraying tempers. When tiredness, alcohol and the strains of having extra guests get on top of us, accidents are more likely to occur.
Your Local A&E
The NHS and A&E units across the country are creaking at the seams and at this time of year units are particularly busy dealing with the illnesses and accidents that winter brings, the slips, trips and falls caused by ice and the usual rounds of ‘flu and winter vomiting.
Not all injuries need to be seen in A&E, so unless you really need it, give your local A&E a miss this Christmas. Walk in centres and GP surgeries can deal with many things and 999/112 should only be reserved for true Emergencies such as choking, heart attacks, strokes and broken bones.
Many minor injuries can be dealt with by applying a good dose of common sense and basic first aid. Please think before you dial 999, “is this really an emergency or can I deal with it, or would a walk in centre be better?”
Make sure you have adequate supplies of any of your usual medications as a walk in centres will not be able to issue repeat prescriptions. Stock up on basic over the counter remedies to deal with minor aches and pains etc.
Above all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Almost 2.8 million people in the UK live with some form of diabetes. It is one of the most common illnesses that affect people and perhaps one of the most misunderstood. In addition around a million people are estimated to have the condition but are as yet undiagnosed.
This week is National Diabetes week and the UK charity Diabetes UK is trying to raise the profile of the work that they do in helping us to understand the condition more clearly. They have discovered that nearly a million people with the condition are too embarrassed or scared to let close friends and colleagues know in case they are stigmatised or bullied at school or work. The issue was raised in this week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time by the Adrian Sanders, MP for Torbay, who is helping with the campaign, encouraging those with diabetes to speak out more about the condition and what it is like to live with.
It is an issue that all of us should be aware of, as with increasing levels of obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diets, many of us are putting our long term health at risk, running the very real possibility of developing the condition as we go through life.
Diabetes is a condition which causes problems with controlling the level of sugar in our blood. There are two main types; Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetics typically do not produce any of the hormone insulin which is needed to utilise the sugar in our blood and turn it into usable fuel for our bodies. It typically begins in childhood or early adulthood and accounts for about 5-10 % of all cases of diabetes. It is not caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors.
Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for around 80 – 85% of all cases, develops later in life and is heavily influenced by diet, and physical activity. Being overweight significantly increases your chances of developing diabetes. Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet are known risk factors for developing diabetes.
Either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, if left untreated, can have serious implications on the long-term health of sufferers. If you suspect that you may be affected by diabetes, you should contact your GP.
Your genetic make-up has a large influence on your chances of developing either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. If you have a strong family history of diabetes, your risk increases significantly.
Obesity is becoming a global issue with knock on effects on healthcare. Approximately one in five adults in the UK is overweight and this is increasing steadily. Diabetes and it’s associated complications are costly to treat and with an ever increasing population that is ageing and becoming more unhealthy the cost to the NHS is huge.
A report out this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association has also suggested that watching too much television can also contribute to a 20% higher risk of developing the disease. However, it is important to note that this is more likely down to the fact that those who watch television for more than two hours per day are also more likely to snack on unhealthy foods and participate in less physical activity. It is likely that this, rather than television itself, is the true cause of this relationship.
Small changes in the way we live our lives, losing weight, eating healthily and exercising can do much to prevent us developing diabetes.
For those that already have the condition, ensure that all around you know about it so that if you become unwell they can help you. You never know, telling others about it may help someone else get the treatment they need or prevent another person developing the disease.
Recognising and treating a hypoglycaemic attack is covered in the 3 day first aid at work course. For more details see our First Aid at Work syllabus page.