Most Common Reasons for ER Visits During the Holidays

Common Injuries

Dec 9, 2021


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re experiencing some of the most common reasons for ER visits during the holidays, it can put a damper on your holiday spirit. Complete Care’s trained medical staff is here to share common reasons for emergency room visits during the holiday season. With these tips, you may be able to prevent a trip to the ER yourself. 

Here are the six most common reasons for ER visits during the holidays.

1. The flu

What is the top reason for holiday ER visits? The flu. Instead of spreading holiday cheer, many people end up spreading the flu to their loved ones.

The holidays occur right at the peak of flu season –– and when you add traveling and a packed social schedule, your odds of getting sick increase significantly. Though the flu does not typically warrant an emergency room visit, those who are more at risk including children, the elderly, or those with pre-existing health conditions may need to see a medical professional to prevent the illness from escalating. 

To avoid sitting in the ER this winter, learn more about how to keep yourself healthy during flu season. Your holiday season could depend on it!

2. Slips and falls

We understand that holiday decorations can be serious business. With lights, ornaments, and garlands to hang you may need a ladder to help you reach high places. But if you’re not careful, you could seriously injure yourself. Ladder falls are a common injury during the holiday season, especially for males over 50. 

Falling off a ladder can result in broken bones, sprains, fractures, back and head injuries, and more. If you do happen to fall off of a ladder, an emergency room visit could prevent any lasting damage to your body and speed up the healing process. 

3. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain or discomfort can be quite common during the holidays due to the large meals associated with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other celebrations. These large and lavish feasts can often lead to overeating, which causes the muscles in your stomach to stretch to make room. If you’re not careful, overeating can lead to dangerous digestive issues that could land you in the emergency room including:

  • Stomach ruptures
  • Indigestion
  • Acid reflux
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 

Portion control around the holidays is incredibly important. Before you go for that third serving of Christmas cake, ask yourself if you are actually still hungry. We’re not saying you can’t enjoy your meal –– however, setting a plan for how much you intend to eat can avoid abdominal discomfort and other dangerous situations.

4. Food poisoning

With all of the luxurious meals to look forward to in the holiday season, food poisoning is unfortunately not that uncommon this time of year. Someone can come down with food poisoning if they do not wash their hands properly before handling food, eat undercooked or raw foods, or eat food that was left out for too long. 

The most common symptoms of food poisoning include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low-grade fever

Though most cases of food poisoning can be handled efficiently at home, most patients should seek emergency care if they notice signs of dehydration. Food poisoning treatment in the ER can include dehydration treatments, blood and stool tests, and a prescription of antibiotics if needed for severe infections.  

5. Heart attacks

A 2018 study published in JAMA Cardiology found that days with below-freezing temperatures had the highest heart attack rates. Cold temperatures cause your blood vessels to tighten to preserve your body’s core temperature and keep you warm. When your heart vessels constrict, your heart receives less blood and oxygen, which can increase the risk of a heart attack. Heart attacks are urgent matters and deserve medical attention immediately.

If you know that a loved one has a history of cardiac complications, learn how to help someone who’s having a heart attack so that you can be prepared to act in case of an emergency.

6. Alcohol poisoning

The holidays can be a time for celebration, and for some adults, celebrating includes alcohol. According to the American Addiction Centers, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve account for some of the most extreme cases of alcohol consumption. Whether it’s the social gatherings or nurturing stressful feelings that arise this time of year, alcohol poisoning can be common if drinkers go overboard. Experts say that alcohol-related injuries spike this time of year, so it’s not shocking to see a drunk person or two in an ER waiting room. 

Binge drinking can cause the vital parts of your brain that control your breathing, heart rate, and body temperature to shut down. Meaning that alcohol overdoses are certainly not something to be celebrated and deserve medical attention immediately. Be sure to educate yourself on how to help a friend with alcohol poisoning to ensure you won’t have to ring in the new year with an emergency room visit.

Complete Care is Available for All Holiday Emergencies

Now that we’ve discussed the most common reasons for ER visits during the holidays, we hope that you will practice caution this holiday season to prevent any injuries or illnesses. After all, we know that you would rather spend time with loved ones than in the emergency room.

However, should an emergency arise, the medical staff at Complete Care is available 24/7 to take complete care of you this holiday season. With ER locations in both Texas and Colorado, you are in good hands.

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