Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 20 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:546

In his book Notes From A Big Country, Bill Bryson describes being diverted by a table of statistics on injuries caused by harmless objects like bedding and stationery. He would have been less surprised that ceiling fans can also be dangerous (Medical Journal of Australia 1999;170:119-2). Over a two year period 50 people were injured by ceiling fans in one town in Queensland, Australia. Details of the injuries are incomplete, but the message seems to be that children in bunk beds and overhead fans are best kept apart.

A survey of over three quarters of the competitors in an Auckland marathon found that first timers and entrants taking medication or recovering from recent illness were at increased risk of injury or illness during the race (British Journal of Sports Medicine 1999;33:22-6). High levels of pre-race training did not protect against muscle injury, nor did warming up and stretching before the start. Older runners had fewer problems than their younger competitors, possibly because of a “healthy survivor” effect.

Nasal tapes designed to widen the nostrils may improve oxygenation in unconscious patients (Respiratory Medicine 1999;93:134-5). Blood oxygen concentrations went up significantly in 11 patients in one intensive care unit when they were wearing the nostril widener, and went down again …

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