6 Holiday Health Risks To Watch Out For

Summer holidays are a time to be outdoors and active – but hopefully they’re also a time to be safe! Holidays do tend to be a time when accidents can happen. Partially, suggests the Australian Medical Association (AMA), because we tend to abandon the office desk whenever possible and have leisure time on our hands. Time on our hands can mean time to get into trouble! 



Some accidents and incidents to be particularly aware of during your down time include the following:

Swimming/activity accidentsSwimming accidents

If the weather is warm and we’re more likely to be at the beach or beside the pool, it can lead to an increased risk of swimming accidents. Between 1 July 2015 and 20 June 2016, 280 people drowned in Australia, two below the 10 year average of 282 drowning deaths. According to the Royal Lifesaving Society National Drowning Report 2016, the largest number of drowning deaths occurred in summer (101). People aged 25-34 account for the largest number of swimming pool deaths, and swimming nd recreating were the main cause of drowning (26%).

Other holiday activities – from skiing to surfing to simply doing more exercise can also come with an increased risk of injury.


Sunburn can happen at any time of year and in almost any weather conditions – something to be aware of when spending welcome time away from the office and outside!  Sunburn increases the long-term impacts of skin cancer; according to Cancer Council Australia, GPs have over one million patient consultations per year.  If you don’t want to be a part of that statistic, don’t forget to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.

Road accidentsRoad accidents

Road accidents really are the big risk during peak holiday seasons, particularly if alcohol is thrown into the mix. Thankfully the road safety message seems to have been absorbed in recent times, with the Christmas period road fatality numbers for the 2015/2016 holidays being lower than the previous year; 12 deaths and 11 fatal crashes as opposed to 16 and 14 respectively. Even one death is too many though – ensure that you drive safely this year.


Dangerous toysDangerous toys

Each year Aussies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on toys for our pampered progeny. Sometimes though, the batteries and small detachable pieces can end up in places they were never meant to be. This can result in a very unhappy child and a dash to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. You can check the product safety guidelines of many toy categories online.

Heat exhaustion or dehydrationHeat stroke

When you’re on holidays having fun, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. A headache, nausea, muscle cramps and dizziness can all be signs of heat stroke. Extreme heat can also severely exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as skin or heart conditions, so people who suffer from those should be especially careful in the heat. Read our guide for preventing and treating heatstroke here.

Interestingly, it’s a condition that the Australian Veterinary Association identifies as being a particular risk to our fur babies, too, at this time of year.

Alcohol-related incidentsDrinking accidents

Pretty self-explanatory – but the statistics are sobering. The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine reports that on Australia Day this year, one in seven patients attending Australian emergency departments (EDs) were there as a result of alcohol harm.  Professor Drew Richardson says that the survey illustrates that Australia has a definitive alcohol problem.

“We need a profound societal shift in our attitude to alcohol consumption, and not just on Australia Day,” Professor Richardson said, “This is a massive public health problem and a major issue for the safety and effectiveness of our staff.”

So – alcohol in moderation, plenty of water, sunscreen, shade and sensible driving. Don’t forget to keep an eye on all the kids, both around water and around toys. Have a great break!

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