Keep safe at Christmas

The HSE West wishes service users, patients, and staff a happy and healthy Christmas. During the festive period, staff will continue to provide essential health services to people who need hospitals, ambulances, and emergency placements.

It is important to recognise and thank all of the staff who are working over the Christmas period. Hospitals will be functioning on a 24-hour period and GP services will also operate including GP out of hours services. However you should only go to hospital or contact a GP out of hours if you have a genuine illness or emergency.

To keep you and your family safe this Christmas the HSE recommends that you follow the safety tips listed below:

Personal safety

Do not drink and drive, nominate a designated driver or take a taxi.

It takes the body over one hour to process a standard alcoholic drink (1/2 pint beer, pub measure of spirits, or 100ml of wine ). Make sure to drink lots of water or alternate alcoholic drinks with a soft drink.

Take care of your personal safety when drinking and practice safe sex if you are sexually active.

Make sure you keep in touch with older relatives and neighbours to ensure they are safe, warm, and have the 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 shoes with a good grip if the weather is icy; keep your hands free when walking.

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

Keep all plastic packaging out of the reach of children.

Household safety

Don't forget to switch out 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. Just like the Christmas lights, don't forget to make sure they are out before you go to bed.

Make sure all of your smoke alarms are in working order; do not remove batteries for toys.

Food safety

In the kitchen, cook the turkey thoroughly, make sure that the juices of the turkey run clear or use a food thermometer to ensure you reach 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.

Look after the environment

After Christmas, use the recycling facilities to dispose of your Christmas tree, wrapping paper, packaging, cans and bottles.


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