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'Tis the season to be sorry


Over 440,000 claims were made to ACC over the summer months of December, January and February last year, and it cost New Zealand $2.2 million to treat everyone who suffered from these injuries.




Christmas trees were the cause of 154 accidents in 2015 - mostly related to the traditional act of hanging decorations on the tree (80 injuries last year alone). Those trees have other hidden dangers, including heavy lifting injuries, falls from stools while reaching up high, trip hazards on the floor, and trees toppling. Strings of lights and Christmas Day ham carving mishaps are also noteworthy for sending Kiwis to the emergency department.


The danger goes on, beyond Christmas day - ice cream seems harmless enough, but pity the ACC claimant who had to write the words, “slipped on ice cream, landed hard” on the form. Ice cream-related claims totalled 13 last year, and included strains due to lifting tubs and an RSI from excessive scooping.


Two and a half thousand New Zealanders were affected by sand-related injuries last year, including burns from blisteringly hot beach days, and sand in the eyes.


A common theme among many injuries in ACC statistics is the consumption of alcohol. During the two hours either side of the New Year countdown annually, St John receive triple the number of calls as they would on a regular night. Not a great way to start the year – so it’s a good idea to save or pace the drinking until after you’ve decked the halls for guests, finished cooking, switched appliances off and put the sharp knives away.



Holiday injuries, where to go?


  • For emergencies, serious accidents, symptoms of heart attack or stroke, dial 111 without delay. But keep the emergency department for real emergencies - general practice teams or urgent care providers (accident and medical clinics) are the best people to deal with everyday accidents and illnesses, during or outside of usual opening hours.
  • For cuts, burns, feeling very sick, sunburn, bites and so on – visit your general practice, or if they are not open, the nearest after-hours GP service or accident and medical centre.

  • If you’re unsure whether it’s urgent or where to go when your usual practice is closed, call 0800 Healthline. It’s a free 24 hour service (regardless of whether you call from a landline or mobile) that lets you talk about symptoms with a registered nurse and make a plan for the best course of action. A large number of Healthline callers get the reassurance and advice they need to manage things safely at home. If the Healthline team think you do need emergency services, they will put you through to 111.







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