Winter has officially dug in its heels and the Ambulance Service of NSW is encouraging the public to
take a few basic steps to prevent sickness in the cooler climate.
"Winter is the busiest time of year for Ambulance and hospitals across the state so it’s important for the public to take simple precautions to prevent them becoming sick," an Ambulance spokesperson said.
"Everyone has a winter routine – we pull out our warm blankets, heaters and water bottles to keep the chills at bay. Part of this routine, particularly for the elderly, should be to get their annual influenza vaccination before getting struck down with the flu.
"Influenza is highly infectious in the first five days, so if you have the flu you can help reduce the spread of infection by not travelling on public transport and staying away from work or school."
It is important for people in high risk areas to get vaccinated, particularly people over 65, those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and renal disease, pregnant women and Aboriginal people over 15 years of age.
Here are some simple steps to help reduce the spread of influenza:
- Use a tissue to cover the nose when sneezing and mouth when coughing
- Dispose of the contaminated tissue into a waste bin after use
- Wash hands with soap and warm water or use an alcohol based hand gel
Every winter, paramedics find themselves treating patients with hypothermia.
Hypothermia can particularly occur amongst the elderly, the seriously unwell and the very young. Winter conditions can often exacerbate underlying illnesses, particularly for those vulnerable members of the community who are seriously unwell and / or suffer from debilitating conditions. Bushwalkers and adventurists who are unprepared may also find themselves in danger of hypothermia.
- Rug up: If you are going out when it is quite cold, wear appropriate clothing. Also ensure that children are well dressed for changes in the weather if they are away from home.
- Check in: With relatives who may live alone before you go to work and just before their bedtime by establishing a routine with them, with a phone call or visiting at a particular time of the day or night.
Ambulance responds to a call every 28 seconds, however a portion of our Triple Zero (000) calls requesting an ambulance response are not an emergency and do not require urgent assistance.
Ambulance encourages people to call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency such as shortness or difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, chest pain, broken bone(s), head injury, suspected heart attack or stroke, excessive blood loss, significant motor vehicle crashes, falls and other emergencies.
In cases where there is no medical emergency, the community is encouraged to seek medical treatment through their local GP, community health centre or the free 24/7 Health Direct advice line 1800 022 222.
Remember, in the event of a medical emergency call Triple Zero (000) and remain on the line whilst details of the emergency are obtained and paramedics are dispatched.