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Be Prepared for the Top Seven Holiday Medical Emergencies

Be Prepared for the Top Seven Holiday Medical Emergencies

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it’s also a period when medical emergencies can occur. At Physicians Premier, we understand the importance of being prepared and knowing when to head for the ER. Here’s a look at the top seven holiday medical emergencies and what to do if you encounter them.

1. Holiday Decorating Injuries

Holiday decorating can lead to injuries. These include falls from ladders, roofs, cuts, and potential concussions. Immediate ER attention is needed if:

  • You’ve fallen from a height.
  • You’re experiencing severe pain or mobility issues.
  • Visible bone or tendons in cuts.
  • Loss of consciousness, indicating a possible concussion.

2. Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Sadly, alcohol and drug abuse tend to spike during the holidays. According to the National Institutes of Health, ER visits due to alcohol-related injuries are increasing. Severe alcohol poisoning is life-threatening, and immediate ER care is needed if you notice:

  • Mental confusion, vomiting, slurred speech.
  • Slow breathing, blue skin tint, low body temperature.
  • Seizures or unconsciousness.

3. Trauma and Car Crashes

December, particularly the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, sees a surge in car crashes. Factors like increased traffic, stress, and alcohol contribute to this rise. Drive safely and seek ER assistance for any crash-related injuries.

4. Sprains, Broken Bones, and Concussions

The holiday season often sees an uptick in falls. Whether from decorating, icy conditions, or new toys like bikes and skateboards, these accidents can lead to sprains, broken bones, and concussions. Visit the ER if:

  • You suspect a broken bone.
  • You’ve hit your head, lost consciousness, or have concussion symptoms.
  • Experiencing severe pain or difficulty walking.

5. Overeating

The CDC highlights abdominal pain as a common reason to visit the ER, with overeating during the holidays increasing risks for chest pains, heart attacks, and other digestive issues. Seek ER care for:

  • Chest pains, shortness of breath, or severe abdominal pain.
  • Signs of a heart attack or severe digestive issues.

6. Allergic Reactions

Holiday allergens range from Christmas trees to food. While most reactions are mild, severe cases like asthma attacks or anaphylactic shock require immediate ER attention. Physicians Premier is open 24/7 throughout the holidays for such emergencies.

7. Kitchen Related Injuries

With extensive holiday cooking, the risk of cuts and burns increases. Most cuts and burns during the holidays are likely to be minor and may not need medical intervention. However, it’s important to seek immediate medical care in more severe cases. If your wound is deep enough to expose bone, cartilage, or tendons, stitches are necessary. Similarly, for second or third-degree burns, an urgent visit to the ER is essential for proper treatment.

Physicians Premier wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Remember, we’re here for any medical emergencies that may happen during the holiday season. Stay safe and enjoy your celebrations with peace of mind, knowing we’re here to help.   


“Trends in emergency department visits related to acute alcohol consumption before and during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, 2018-2020,” National Institutes of Health,
“Holiday Traffic Fatality Estimate,” National Safety Council,
“Keeping You Healthy: Doctors see uptick in injuries during the holiday season,” Nebraska TV,
“Common Personal Injuries During the Holidays,” Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers,