Thanksgiving: Why the ER Is Stuffed

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Thanksgiving tends to be one of the busiest days of the year for emergency rooms. How can such a relaxing holiday be so ripe for disaster? Learn about the most common reasons for Thanksgiving trips to the ER and how you can prevent them.

Cooking Accidents
Thanksgiving is the day when people put their cooking skills to the test. Between deep-frying turkeys in sizzling hot oil and carving birds with large knives, Thanksgiving preparations have the potential for injury. Before the big day, stock your kitchen with safety equipment, including oven mitts, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit. Never leave cooking food unattended because fires can spring up in an instant. Finally, when carving your meat, be sure to cut away from yourself and keep your fingers away from any blades.

Football Pains
Many families have a tradition of playing a football game before they sit down to their Thanksgiving dinner. The force of a tackle can dislocate bones or even break them, so opt for flag football instead of a rougher game. Make sure everyone is wearing proper attire for outdoor activity, including closed-toe shoes. Play on a flat and level area, avoiding harder surfaces, such as pavement or asphalt, so falls won’t cause as much damage.

Heart Scares
Portions tend to be bigger on Thanksgiving, and people typically overeat. Many people mistake their nasty case of Thanksgiving heartburn for a heart attack. The best way to avoid indigestion is to eat moderately sized portions and to pace yourself so you don’t stuff yourself too much. While heartburn is common on Thanksgiving, if you feel symptoms of a heart attack, trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Drinking Injuries
Just as the food tends to be abundant on Thanksgiving, so does the alcohol. Drinking excessively can lead to impaired decision making, and the risk for an alcohol-fueled car accident is higher on Thanksgiving. Keep yourself and other drivers safe this holiday by choosing a designated driver to make sure everyone arrives home safely.

With some careful planning, you can avoid a Thanksgiving emergency. Safe behaviors can help keep your family safe; however, you can’t always prevent accidents. Familiarize yourself with CHI St. Luke’s Health community emergency centers so you know where to go when time is of the essence.

 

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