ARPHS Media Release
Whether you are staying home or travelling out of town, Auckland
Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is asking Aucklanders to
take steps to reduce the risks that can arise over summer.
"There are few greater joys in life than a relaxing summer
holiday," says ARPHS Clinical Director Dr Julia Peters.
"But summer also brings with it its share of risks, which can be
reduced by following a few guidelines."
Safe alcohol consumption
- Do not drink and drive. The alcohol limit for drivers 20 years
and over was lowered from 400 to 250 micrograms of alcohol per
litre of breath on 1 December. This is a large reduction and means
as few as one or two drinks can now put you over the limit.
- The changes mean arranging a sober driver or an alternative
form of transport are now even more important. To help plan your
occasion, safe drinking guidelines, including recommended alcohol
limits, can be found on the
Health Promotion Agency website.
- It is illegal to supply alcohol to anyone under 18 without
their parent's or guardian's consent.
- When serving alcohol, a plentiful range of food, as well as
non-alcoholic drinks and water, should also be available.
Safe food handling
- Campylobacter is New Zealand's number one food poisoning
disease, with about 50 cases notified in Auckland each week, mostly
in the warmer months.
- People catch food poisoning by swallowing germs from
contaminated water and food, or from contact with infected animals
or other people.
- The four Cs of food safety are: Clean, Cook, Cover, and Chill.
This means washing and drying hands thoroughly, ensuring meats are
thoroughly cooked, not using the same plates to prepare or carry
raw and cooked food, and making sure prepared food or leftovers are
kept in cool storage. Check out ARPHS'
hand hygiene tips.
Safe drinking water
- For those on roof water, ensuring your drinking water supply is
clean is vital for avoiding campylobacter, giardia and
cryptosporidium, among other illnesses.
- There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk. For
more information read HealthEd's advice on
safe drinking water and
household water supplies.
- If you need to fill your drinking water tank over summer, be
sure to use a registered supplier. See the
Drinking Water for New Zealand website for a list of registered
- Check Auckland Council's
Safeswim site, which provides regular updates on water quality
at Auckland's beaches. You can also phone Auckland Council on 09
301 0101 and ask for Safeswim advice.
- Wait at least 48 hours after heavy rainfall before swimming.
Avoid swimming near storm drains or sewage pipes.
- Swim between the flags, and keep small children in arm's
- Take care when fishing, especially on surf beaches. Always wear
a life jacket when fishing, don't fish alone, and don't turn your
back on the waves. Wear a life jacketon boats, and ensure children
are wearing age-appropriate life jackets.
- Sometimes ARPHS gets reports of swimmers suffering rashes from
microscopic jellyfish. This is known as Sea Bather's Eruption, and
the risks can be reduced by not wearing baggy clothing in the
water, and by removing swimwear and showering as soon as possible
after swimming. See our
jellyfish fact sheet for more information.
- If you are travelling elsewhere in New Zealand, look out for
toxic shellfish warnings. There is currently a shellfish warning in
place for the Bay of
Plenty. See the
Ministry for Primary Industries website for safety tips for
- Parts of the Pacific are experiencing outbreaks of dengue
fever, Zika virus and/or chikungunya. The main threat is currently
chikungunya in French Polynesia and Samoa. For more information
- You can protect yourself from these viruses by applying insect
repellant, especially those containing DEET at a concentration of
30-50 percent, and wearing clothing that covers your arms and
- Measles outbreaks are ongoing in the Philippines, Papua New
Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Last summer 12 passengers with
measles flew into Auckland, causing a major outbreak in which 112
people became ill.
- The best protection against measles is two doses of the
Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) after your first birthday.
Check with your GP whether you and your family are fully immunised,
especially before travelling overseas.
All of us at ARPHS would like to wish Aucklanders a great
Christmas and happy New Year.