The December holidays is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. However, before your December holiday begins there’s one important aspect worth considering: Holiday season safety!
Here are 4 important safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable December holiday for you and your loved ones.
1. Heat, humidity, heat exhaustion and heat stroke
There is no better feeling than relaxing on the beach, the bushveld or next to your own swimming pool, but we tend to forget about the effect that the sun has on us, as we are in the December holiday mood.
During these lazy hot summer days, we can very easily start to dehydrate because of the lack of fluid replacement in our bodies. We need to drink something like Energade or Powerade (no,not alcohol!) to replace all the nutrients that we lose through perspiration. Without realizing it you can very quickly start to dehydrate and, if not careful, this can turn into either heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
What does heat exhaustion look like:
Heat exhaustion is caused by the body’s core temperature rising above 37 degrees C. In an attempt to cool down, excessive sweating occurs, and fluids and vital salts are lost during this process. This condition can be caused through excessive exercise or prolonged exposure to hot conditions.
What does heat stroke look like:
Heatstroke is a medical emergency. The hypothalamus (the body’s thermostat) stops working and the body cannot cool down through normal actions such as sweating. The core temperature rises to dangerous levels (above 40 degrees C). Heatstroke is caused by prolonged exposure to hot conditions or as a result of an underlying physical condition such as fever or illness.
- Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms:
- Hot flushed skin
- Profuse sweating
- Headache, nausea and vomiting
- Rapid pulse
- Urinating less (urine is a dark colour)
- Heatstroke signs and symptoms:
- High temperature (sometimes above 40 degrees C)
- Hot dry skin
- Nausea, dizziness and vomiting
- Intense headache
- Muscle cramps
- Lower response levels
- Rapid pulse and breathing
- May be unconscious
- Basic treatment for heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
- Move the patient to a cool place
- Give the patient water to rehydrate
- Remove any excessive clothing
- Monitor the patient’s response levels
- Seek medical attention.
- Call for an ambulance (112) immediately
- Try to cool the skin by applying a damp towel or spraying them with water
2. Water and beach safety tips
If you have children, it is your responsibility as a parent to have water safety rules at the beach and to always keep a watchful eye on them, even if they are good swimmers, as an accident can happen in an instant.
Always make sure that everyone going onto any form of watercraft wears a lifejacket that fits them properly.
When swimming in the ocean do not swim where there are no life-guards on duty to ensure beach safety, as you increase the risk of drowning or serious injury without having assistance close by.
Do not jump into dams or lakes, or from rockfaces before making sure that it is safe and that there are no hidden rocks in the murky water.
Remember to always use sunscreen around any water activity, especially after exiting the water.
A small container with vinegar for those blue bottle and jelly fish encounters. (If stung by a jelly fish or blue bottle just spray the vinegar over the affected area)
3. Braai fire safety tips
Always make sure that you have a fire extinguisher close by when having a braai, ideally a 4.5kg DCP fire extinguisher.
If a pot or pan with oil catches fire DO NOT throw water into the pot or pan as this will just make the fire “explode”. Rather cover the burning pot or pan with a lid or damp cloth and turn off the heat source.
Before throwing the braai ash into a dustbin, make sure that the ash is cold, as hot ash will start a fire in the dustbin.
Keep small children away from all open fires and hot coals as they may touch the hot coals and suffer severe burns.
An important rule for braai fire safety is to not throw petrol or any accelerant on a fire that is struggling to burn. You may spill some of the liquid onto yourself and you could suffer from serious burn injuries.
4. First Aid for family safety
For your December holiday safety, be sure to always have a first aid kit with you containing at least the following items:
- Variety of different size bandages
- Variety of plasters
- Antiseptic solution / wound cleaner
- A pair of scissors
- A few safety-pins
- Medication for personal usage like:
- Headache tablets
- Antiseptic solution
It has been a long and hard year for most of us and we all can’t wait for our December holidays to start. From Absolute Health Services we would like to wish you a joyful festive season, enjoy your holidays and stay safe.
Looking forward to seeing you in 2023 at one of our comprehensive First Aid NQF level 1 training courses!