HSE issues advice for severe weather

As part of its winter initiative, the Health Services Executive (HSE ) is highlighting a series of measures which members of the public can take to protect their health and wellbeing during the adverse weather conditions.

While current icy conditions continue, the HSE would advise that if you do fall and are injured, it is really important that you do not delay in seeking medical attention at the nearest emergency department. The injuries to people who fall on ice are high velocity in their nature, and as such there would be a likelihood of breaking a limb. If left untreated, such injuries could result in life-long effects so urgent medical attention is of paramount importance. Also remember to stay warm by wearing layers of clothes, keep the heating on, and check on elderly neighbours regularly.

The HSE is also advising that people wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles if they have to go out but to try to limit walking during the cold weather; clear the ice from their footpath and around the house and assist less capable neighbours in doing the same; and check in on elderly neighbours and ensure they have enough food, heat, and prescription medications. Finally, if you have a fall, even a minor one, make sure you visit your doctor for a check-up.

The Ambulance Service has also issued the following advice on when to dial 999 for an ambulance. If you think a patient is suffering from one of the following you must dial 999 for an ambulance: heart attack (eg chest pain for more than 15 minutes ); possible stroke (eg facial droop, arm weakness, loss of speech; sudden unexplained shortness of breath; heavy bleeding; unconsciousness (even if the patient has regained consciousness ); or traumatic back/ spinal/ neck pain.

You should also call for an ambulance if you think the patient's illness or injury is life-threatening; if you think the illness or injury may become worse, or even life-threatening on the way to the hospital; if moving the patient/s without skilled people could cause further injury; if the patient needs the skills or equipment of the Ambulance Service and its personnel; or if traffic conditions could cause a delay in getting the person to hospital and time could be critical.

Further information on health services in your area is available through the HSE information line 1850 24 1850, and on the HSE website www.hse.ie Remember to call 112 or 999 if you need an ambulance.

As part of its Winter Initiative, the HSE information booklet ‘Keep Well This Winter’ highlights what you can do to protect your health and wellbeing during the winter season. Aimed particularly at older and vulnerable people, the booklet is available from HSE information line on 1850 24 1850 and at www.hse.ie


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