Wet and Dry

A remote nursing experience in the NT Australia (part 5)

Many people say that in the Northern Territory there are only two seasons – the “wet” and the “dry”. From a health point of view both these times have their own set of challenges.

A massive storm approaches during the “build up”

The “build up” is a period of extended hot days or weeks with frequent violent storms preceeding the “wet” season. With the wet comes isolation – and for many remote aboriginal communities and cattle properties access to health care, outside of their own first aid supplies and a phone or radio, is non existent. Preparation is the key – with restocking of supplies and checking of equipment essential. Even emergency evacuation may be compromised if runways are too wet or weather conditions unsuitable for small aircraft.

The wet can contribute to increased cases of diarrhoea (particularly in children) and vomiting, chest infections, and some skin infections. While the dry sees more ear nose throat and eye problems. Alcohol is a little harder to acquire during the peak of the “wet”, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and it seems to find its way through regardless.

Many dusty dry areas are completely transformed as the following two pictures, taken at the same location, demonstrate. The Territory is a place of dramatic change and breathtaking scenery.

 

Bob Goodwin – StoriesAndPlays.com

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