Tips to avoid the emergency department this festive season

The Christmas and new year period can be one of the busiest times of the year for Central Adelaide’s emergency departments.

We’ve compiled a short list of handy tips to help you avoid visiting an emergency department (ED) during the festive season. But don’t forget if it’s a genuine emergency, our ED is here for you.


Falls can be very common at this time of year because of higher alcohol consumption at end-of-year parties and social gatherings and the extra time you may have to carry out jobs around the home.

Top tips:

Please use your common sense when socialising and at parties, by remembering to consume alcohol in moderation and drink plenty of water.

To avoid accidents, including falling off from ladders or from heights, take a moment to assess the risk factors and consider if the task is safe to do yourself or if you may need help. Many falls presented at the ED could have been easily avoided with proper risk management.

Road safety:

Alcohol-related road incidents can be more common during the festive season.

Top tip: Protect yourself and your community from harm by not driving when drinking. Leave your car at home and use alternative ways of getting home including public transport or using a ridesharing service like Uber, or ensure you have a designated driver to bring you home safely.

Stay healthy in the heat:

Staying well-hydrated is the best way to avoid heat exhaustion during the holidays.

Top tip: Avoid going out in the hottest part of the day, look out for family, friends and the elderly and wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved and light-coloured clothing, a hat, sunglasses and SPF30+ or higher sunscreen. For more tips and information on managing heat exhaustion, visit the SA Health website here

Food poisoning:

Our EDs often see a rise in patients affected by salmonella or food poisoning at this time of year, prompted by food not being safely prepared and or stored properly.

Top tip: Ensure that you are vigilant with food handling and keep food refrigerated until serving, to avoid exposure to the heat.

For more information on food handling and food safety, click here

Alcohol consumption:

Alcohol-related traumas can increase significantly through the holiday period, often causing loss of life, permanent injuries and unnecessary heartache to families and the community.

Top tip: Please consume alcohol responsibly during this time. To manage your alcohol intake, hydrate regularly, eat between drinks, take regular breaks and don’t get behind the wheel when you are intoxicated.

Mental health:

The Christmas and new year period is not a happy time for everyone, with many people experiencing loneliness and isolation, particularly elderly people and those without a large circle of family and friends.

Top tip: If you are feeling lonely or overwhelmed during this time, professional help is always available. If you notice that a friend or family member is feeling this way, ensure that you stay in touch and visit them when you can.

The Urgent Mental Health Care Centre, 215 Grenfell Street, Adelaide is open everyday between 12pm and 1030pm and can be contacted on 8448 9100.

You may also like to contact the following organisations:

Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24/7 crisis support

Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 for 24/7 mental health advice and information

Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 for 24/7 mental health advice and information