75ºF

Tips for avoiding holiday ER visits

I’ve worked more than my fair share of holidays in the ER, and without exception the most common thread that lands people in the ER is alcohol.

Whether it’s an altercation, vehicular accident, fall, impaired use of sharp objects, or just plain old passing out, please try to know your limits.

Here are some other things we see:

  • The holidays are a time for people to come together, and often that can mean the sharing of germs. One of the simplest reasons people come to the ER during the holidays is its overlap with cold and flu season. Try your best to avoid sick friends and relatives, and if you’re sick be courteous and excuse yourself from holiday festivities.
  • Coming together also often involves holiday travel. If you are on medications make sure you have an adequate supply and be sure to pack them. It’s not unusual for people to have to come to the hospital simply because their chronic illnesses got worse because they didn’t have their medications.
  • Holiday decorating looks great but take care when you climb ladders to hang or take down decorations -- also be aware of where extension cords are to reduce trip hazards.
  • Food is also a common source of holiday ER visits. Accidents during preparation like cuts and burns are avoidable with a little awareness. Food poisoining from poor preparation and storage is also fairly common.
  • When it comes to gifts, the most common injuries are cuts mainly from overzealous use of box cutters, knives, and scissors, but the sharp edges of the hard plastic packaging shouldn’t be ignored either. Put sharp things away as soon as you’re done with them.

Those are many preventable reasons people show up in the ER.

I also wan’t to encourage people not to delay coming to the ER for serious problems like chest pain, trouble breathing or abdominal pain. The day after major holidays, we always see people who delayed coming to the hospital and ended up in much worse shape because they didn’t want to come in on the holiday.


About the Author: