AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, has warned Australians to be careful and cautious when engaged in water recreation activities over the holiday period, especially when alcohol is involved.
Dr Hambleton said that hospital emergency departments see a lot of people who are victims of accidents from water-related activities, often when people under the influence of alcohol are involved.
“Summer is a great time to get into the water – beaches, rivers, pools, waterslides, dams and creeks and lakes,” Dr Hambleton said.
“Whether it is surfing, bodysurfing, water skiing, jet skiing, diving, boating, or swimming laps,there is always an element of danger if people are not careful.
“That element of danger is multiplied if somebody directly or indirectly involved in that activity has been drinking.
“Alcohol and water do not mix in this scenario.
“Every summer, there are tragic instances where people are seriously injured and even killed in situations involving water and alcohol consumption.
“Alcohol severely impacts on judgement and leads to poor decision making.
“To make things worse, alcohol marketing over summer often involves fun, water-related imagery and sometimes larrikinism.
“Games that involve holding your breath underwater for long periods might seem fun, but can actually lead to drowning, including when the participants are inebriated.
“Activities such as diving, surfing, swimming or jumping into bodies of water can result in spinal cord injuries, which may lead to lengthy hospital stays or permanent disability.”