Tips To Avoid A Visit To The ER Over The Holidays
The holiday season is a time to relax, unwind, and make memories with friends, family, and loved ones. Unfortunately, the holidays often bring about an increase in ER visits as well. Family gatherings, open flames, and alcohol are just a few of the things that lead to holiday-related accidents and incidents each year. The award-winning team of board-certified emergency room physicians and professional staff at iCare ER & Urgent Care provides comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, imaging, and emergency medicine in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX 365 days a year, including holidays. Make sure you and your family are prepared for a safe and healthy holiday season this year by minimizing your risks and knowing when to go to the emergency room should injury or illness occur.
Why are holiday emergency room statistics so high?
In many cities and states across the country, the number of visits to the ER is higher during the holidays. While some patients may visit the emergency room on a holiday simply because their regular doctor’s office is closed, there are a variety of holiday-related behaviors and situations that directly contribute to the additional ER trips, including:
- Alcohol: There is no doubt that alcohol consumption sharply increases around the holidays for most people. This can lead to a higher rate of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), acute injuries, alcohol poisoning, and other issues.
- Travel: Holiday travel also contributes to a higher rate of travel-related incidents, such as MVAs. Additionally, some people may experience problems that are not directly related to traveling but occur simply because they are away from home. For example, out-of-town patients often need to visit the ER over the holidays because they have forgotten essential medicines at home. Traveling may also increase stress-related incidents, constipation, and more. Finally, holiday travel for recreation – such as a ski trip – can account for a higher rate of injury.
- Weather: In many places around the country, the holidays bring about ice, snow, and other winter weather conditions, which can lead to falls and travel-related accidents.
- Family gatherings: With large numbers of people gathering indoors, cooking together, eating together, sharing bathrooms, etc., the spread of illness is certainly a heightened concern during the holidays. In addition to the flu, COVID-19 is an important consideration for holiday gatherings this year.
- Accidents at home: From open fireplaces to pocketknives, from Santa to deep-fryers to dry Christmas trees, there are a long list of potential causes for injury or incident at home during the holidays.
How to avoid holiday ER visits
To minimize your risk of needing medical attention during the holidays, use these helpful tips and recommendations:
1. Limit your alcohol consumption: Be careful not to overindulge, and do not drink and drive. Also, be extra cautious when on the road, as other drivers may have been drinking.
2. Monitor for illness: If you or one of your family members is showing any signs of illness, including a fever or cough, it is best to skip family gatherings. If you have symptoms you think may be related to COVID-19, visit your nearest Frisco or Fort Worth iCare ER & Urgent Care location for rapid COVID testing.
3. Assist elderly guests: When older men and women are at a family member’s home, restaurant, or other unfamiliar place during the holidays, they may be more likely to fall or become disoriented.
4. Be aware of your surroundings: Take extra care to minimize risk factors for accidents and injury at your home during the holidays. This includes keeping your Christmas tree watered, properly disposing of fireplace ashes after they are completely cooled, using caution when hanging decorations that require a ladder, and more.
5. Know when to go to the emergency room: Understanding what signs, symptoms, and situations warrant a trip to the ER are essential for avoiding an unnecessary visit, though it may also save your life. Some of the most common scenarios and symptoms that should be treated almost immediately at your nearest ER include:
- Severe abdominal pain, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting, bleeding, or fever
- Stroke-like symptoms
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Severe allergic reaction
- Urinary retention
- Priapism (prolonged erection)
- Traumatic injury or bone fracture
- Traumatic eye injury
- Severe alcohol or drug intoxication
While some minor illnesses or injuries may not require immediate medical attention, waiting to address a serious problem until after the holiday can lead to a more severe condition and further complications. The knowledgeable team of physicians and staff at both of our hybrid facilities in Fort Worth and Frisco are dedicated to prompt attention without the need for an appointment and will help determine whether your symptoms require emergency room services or can be treated in our urgent care, located in the same building.
Celebrate your holidays safely and avoid a trip to the emergency room
No one wants to spend their holiday in the emergency room, and there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of having to do so. However, it is equally important to seek emergent treatment and care for serious symptoms rather than waiting until after the holidays. Should you or one of your family members have an accident, become ill, or suspect that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 this holiday season, our skilled team of board-certified emergency room physicians and professional staff are here to provide the highest level of treatment and care at our convenient iCare ER & Urgent Care locations in Frisco and Fort Worth, TX.
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