Stay safe in these holidays

The HSE West has urged people to observe simple safety tips to help them stay well and have an enjoyable New Year’s

John Hennessy, the health authority’s regional director of operations, believes if people follow the advice fewer will need to attend University Hospital’s emergency department during the festive season.

“I would like to wish all service users and staff a happy and healthy New Year. I hope that everyone has a peaceful breakand a safe one. If people follow our safety tips we shouldn’t see as many patients in our Accident and Emergency services this year.”

He says it is important to recognise and thank staff who will be providing essential health services to people over the holiday period .

“These include medical and ambulance staff, nurses, cooks, receptionists, security, porters, administration staff - everyone involved in providing services to people in our care..”

The HSE recommends that people follow the safety tips listed below:

Personal Safety:

· Vist elderly relatives and neighbours to ensure they are safe, warm and have necessary supplies. Ensure that there is enough food and that there is adequate heating.

· Wrap up well when going outside in cold weather. Wear a hat and gloves to give protection against the cold. Wear low heel, lace up shoes with a good grip if the weather is icy.

· Make sure that if you or a relative are on prescription drugs that you have enough to cover you for the festive period.

· Keep all plastic packaging out of the reach of children.

· Do not drink and drive. Nominate a designated driver or take a taxi.

· It takes the body more than one hour to process an alcoholic drink. Make sure to drink lots of water or alternate alcoholic drinks with a soft drink. Take care of your personal safety when drinking.

Household safety:

· Don’t forget to switch off the Christmas lights before you go to bed, place a fireguard in front of an open fire and leave it there overnight.

· Candles add to the festive mood - but they can also be extremely dangerous. Do not leave them near flammable material, within a child’s reach or in a position where they could be knocked over. Don’t forget to blow them out before you go to bed.

· Make sure your smoke alarms work, do not remove batteries for toys. A disappointed child is no comparison to an injured or dead child.

Food safety:

· In the kitchen, cook the turkey thoroughly, make sure that the juices run clear or use a food thermometer to ensure it reaches the correct temperature.

· Keep raw meats separate from cooked foods; always store cooked/chilled foods on higher shelves in your fridge. Keep leftovers refrigerated for re-use, if you are re-heating make sure the food is piping hot. Remember cold foods should be served cold and hot foods kept hot.

· Always wash your hands before handling food. Wash your hands after handling raw meat, poultry or fish; using the toilet; gardening or handling rubbish; handling a pet or any other animal.

The HSE Information Line on 1850 241850 will be closed on December 31 and January 1 and 2.

Central and administrations offices will reopen on Friday December 30. Offices will be closed on Monday January 2 for the New Year’s Day bank holiday.

For further information on staying healthy over Christmas, log onto


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