Thanksgiving is regarded as a time for family togetherness and closeness. In reality, it is a holiday tailored for chaos! Why is there a spike in ER visits during Thanksgiving you may wonder? Well, burning food, sharp knives, and the dreaded distant relative family reunions can very quickly become recipes for disaster.
If you are hoping to avoid an emergency room visit this holiday season, here are a list of the most common Thanksgiving Day ailments and injuries to look out for:
PROPER TURKEY COOKING TEMPERATURES
Bacterial infection is always a risk when handling raw meat. The CDC recommends that a turkey is fully thawed and cooked at a minimum of 325 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to cooking length, make sure that you’re allowing 15-20 minutes of cooking time per pound of an unstuffed turkey. And speaking of stuffing, the stuffing should be prepared outside of the turkey to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Most importantly, make sure everyone washes their hands before handling food.
CUTS AND LACERATIONS
As tempting as it may be, don’t give up a finger, or a hand—or any part of your upper extremity, for that matter—this holiday season. The most commonly encountered injury during Thanksgiving is a complex cut to one’s digits. Even before the turkey is carved, food preparation involves a lot of knife work. 1 in 10 ER visits throughout the year is related to hand injuries. On Thanksgiving, knife-related injuries are even more common.
AVOID THANKSGIVING BURNS
Thanksgiving offers no shortage of opportunities to scald oneself. In fact, for the last seven years, Texas has led the country in most grease- and cooking-related insurance claims on Thanksgiving Day. Deep frying a turkey is an American holiday tradition. Each year, fire departments respond to over 1,000 fires related to deep fryers.
Studies have shown that people are more likely to experience heart-related health issues during the holidays. “Holiday Heart Syndrome,” a term coined in 1978, causes the heart to beat rapidly and irregularly. Holiday Heart Syndrome is triggered by too much wine with dinner or too many beers during football. The mechanism is unknown, but alcohol in excess, compounded by the psychological stress of the holidays, over-eating, lack of sleep and dehydration appears to cause the heart to beat fast and work even harder than it should.
BE CAREFUL ON THE ROAD
Thanksgiving is typically one of the year’s deadliest weeks for traffic accidents. Between navigating unfamiliar roads, driving late at night, or after having a few drinks, Thanksgiving Day is ranked among holidays with the largest number of drunk driving fatalities—and it’s by a landslide.
In addition, 65% of most people polled anticipated a Thanksgiving brawl amongst their family members on Thanksgiving Day.
Who knew Thanksgiving could be so dangerous?! At Memorial Village ER we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to manage all of your holiday emergencies!