Don't turn your holiday 'break' into a real one these holidays

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An unfortunate break.

An unfortunate break.

Clinicians are urging Far North Queenslanders not to turn their holiday 'break' into a real one, by taking care of their bodies over Christmas.

The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has released figures detailing the numbers of patients who have been treated for broken limbs in hospital during the past five years.

Since January 1 this year, a total 12,550 orthopaedic fracture presentations were recorded – the highest annual number during the five-year period

Cairns Hospital Acting Director of Orthopaedics, Dr Andrew Graham, said the number of people presenting with fractures during December had grown significantly during the past five years.

‘Last year in December, we had 1,105 presentations of fractures,’ he said.

‘This was a 64 per cent growth compared to 2019.’

He said the most common injuries during the holiday season were fractured wrists and ankles.

‘Many of these are adults who have fallen during celebratory events, maybe after having a few too many drinks,’ he said.

‘We also have quite a few children presenting with similar injuries because of testing out new toys and equipment such as scooters, skateboards, and trampolines.

‘Sometimes adults who are trying out their children’s toys end up injuring themselves in this way, too.’

Dr Graham said with e-scooters expected to be hot items under Christmas trees this year, it was vital that riders used them safely, including wearing helmets.

‘We’ve seen quite a few patients being treated for e-scooter related injuries already in hospital,’ he said.

‘E-scooters are a fun, cost-effective method transport but they can also be dangerous if used inappropriately.

‘Under Queensland law, a person who is riding an e-scooter must wear a helmet at all times.

‘Riders aren’t allowed to drink and ride, nor use a mobile phone while they are in motion.’

Chloe Cassar, the Nurse Unit Manager of Cairns Hospital’s Surgical Outpatient Department said Christmas was a time for celebrating, but people needed to be wary of the potential for injuries.

‘Many of the adult injuries we treat, when you get down to the root cause, alcohol is often a major contributor,’ she said.

‘We absolutely want to see people out there having a good time, but please drink and act responsibly.

‘We want the festive season to remain just that. We don’t want our community to spend their holidays in a plaster cast, nor in a hospital bed.

‘Our staff are always here to look after people, but our Christmas wish is for everyone to stay safe.’

E-scooter facts

  • 39% of all e-scooter accidents happened between 9pm and 5am
  • 71% of patients were men
  • 6% of patients needed surgery
  • At least 25% of accidents involved alcohol
  • 10% of patients weren’t wearing a helmet
  • The most common injuries were sprain, strains and upper limb fractures
  • The average age of patients was 33 years

Source: Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Sept 2021