If things go wrong
Getting sick or injuring yourself
Don't forget to bring your Medicare card with you on your schoolies break. You may need it if you get sick or injure yourself. Be prepared to pay medical fees if you visit a doctor as it's unlikely they'll 'bulk bill'. Even if you have to pay you will be able to claim most of it back directly from Medicare. Ask for a Medicare form from the medical centre.
If you're feeling unwell but don't think you need to visit a doctor, go to a pharmacy and ask about some 'over-the-counter' medicine they can sell you to alleviate your symptoms.
The Better Health Channel website has an online directory where you can find a pharmacist, doctor or other health professional in your area.
In a medical emergency situation, call 000 immediately and ask the operator for the ambulance service. Remember, the ambulance service won't call the Police just because drugs may be involved. Check out our Safe Partying If things go wrong page for further details on calling emergency services.
Emergency contraception involves taking a special dose of oral contraceptive pills. If you had unprotected sex, or if a condom broke during sex, you can reduce the chance of pregnancy by taking emergency contraception.
Sometimes it's called the 'morning after pill' but you can actually take emergency contraception several days after the event. The medication is called Postinor-2 and costs around $30 for the pack. A doctor can prescribe it or you can buy it over the counter at many pharmacies throughout Australia.
All types of emergency contraception are more effective the sooner they are used after unprotected sex.
Emergency contraception is only for emergencies. It's not a regular form of contraception and it isn't a protection against STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). If you are concerned, talk to your doctor or a Sexual Health Clinic.
Besides the long term risk of skin cancer that can result from exposure to the sun, a bad sunburn can really put a dampener on your holiday time - it's painful, ugly and you have to keep covered up. The best precaution is to wear sunscreen, a hat, extra clothing and stay out of the sun during the middle of the day. But if you end up getting burned, here are some tips for dealing with the symptoms:
Only time and patience will heal your sunburn. Treatment aims to help manage the symptoms while the body heals. Suggestions include:
- drink plenty of water, because you're probably dehydrated as well as sunburnt
- gently apply cool or cold compresses, or bathe the area in cool water but avoid using soap, as this could irritate your skin
- there are a range of products available that help to soothe sunburn - visit a pharmacy for product suggestions and if your sunburn is painful, choose spray-on solutions rather than creams you have to apply by hand
- calamine lotion (or equivalent) may be helpful if the sunburnt area is particularly itchy
- don't pop blisters and consider covering the itchy blisters with a wound dressing to reduce the risk of infection
- pain permitting, moisturise the skin. This won't stop the burnt skin from peeling off, but it will help boost the moisture content of the skin beneath
- take over-the-counter painkillers, if necessary
- keep out of the sun until every last sign of sunburn has gone
You should see a doctor or seek treatment from your nearest hospital emergency department if you or a friend have a severe sunburn and experience symptoms including extensive blistering and pain, sunburn over a large area, headache, nausea and vomiting, fever, dizziness or altered states of consciousness.
Fighting with friends
The schoolies break is likely to be a pretty emotional time for you and your friends. You'll also be living quite closely together and sharing space so it would not be unusual for conflicts to arise.
If you have a fight with your friends, or your friends are fighting, there are ways to resolve the conflict and help bring about a peaceful result, even if it's a compromise or 'agreement to disagree'.
It can help to talk to someone who is not involved with the conflict. It gives you another perspective and an independent person is always good at coming up with suggestions for resolving the conflict.
If you are fighting, try to walk away and count to ten before you say anything. This is a good way to cool off and avoid saying something you may regret. Take a walk around the block to get some thinking time away from the conflict.
Better Health Channel - Find a health professional or service
A useful directory for finding a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, hospital or medical centre near you.
Medicare - How do I claim from Medicare?
Information about bulk billing and how to claim a Medicare rebate.
Reach Out - Emergency contraception
Information about the 'morning after pill', what it is, where to buy it and possible side-effects you may experience.
Better Health - Sunburn explained
Explains what sunburn is, the symptoms and remedies, how to avoid it and when to seek professional help.