5 Reasons the ER Is Stuffed on Thanksgiving

Emergency rooms are stuffed on Thanksgiving due to injuries caused by car accidents, cuts, burns, food poisoning, slip and falls, and heart attacks. Thanksgiving is a festive time of the year, but also tends to be one of the busiest days of the year for ER doctors. Nearly 37,000 Americans went to the ER on Thanksgiving in 2016, and the trend continues year to year. 

These are the 5 most common sources of injury on Thanksgiving:

Auto Accidents

As millions of people travel by road for the Thanksgiving holiday,  a higher volume of traffic attracts the possibility of car crashes. Icy road conditions, impaired driving, speeding, fidgeting with a navigation system, and talking on the phone lead thousands of people to sustain severe injuries each year. 

Cuts and Burns

With distractions such as a house full of guests, alcohol consumption, and the stress of a long to-do list, accidents are bound to happen. It’s easy to bump against hot objects or sustain injuries from grease fires. Deep fryers used to crisp the turkey can cause the bird to catch fire or explode, causing fires and severe burns. Additionally, cuts and lacerations are common injuries that send many people to the ER for stitches.

Food Poisoning

The pressure to cook under a limited timeline leads some to cut corners during food preparations, resulting in food poisoning. Salmonella bacteria from an undercooked turkey can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever. In addition, food that’s left in the open for more than two hours or stored in the fridge for more than four days can expose people to the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Grocery stores and retail stores see an increase in shoppers during Thanksgiving. From stocking up for turkey dinner to snagging the best deals on Black Friday, many shoppers sustain slip and fall injuries including head trauma, sprains, back and neck injuries, and broken bones. Thanksgiving in Chicago comes with snow, ice, freezing rain, and cold temperatures, which can turn streets and sidewalks into danger zones.

Heart Attacks

Heart-health emergencies and deaths increase by as much as 33 percent during Thanksgiving, partly due to higher consumption of alcohol and overindulgence in fatty and salty foods. Other causes of heart problems are overexertion and forgetting to take daily medications. Stress caused by traveling, dealing with difficult guests, and preparing a meal for a large crowd are additional risk factors.