Fun cartoon doctor with jack-o-lantern

Prepare For These Most Common Halloween Injuries

While holidays are a day to kick back and relax for most Americans, those in the medical profession know that those special days can be anything but. Picnics, parties, and celebrations often mean very busy times in a hospital or clinic’s emergency room, and Halloween is no exception. So if you’re wearing scrubs instead of a costume on October 31st, here are a few of the most common injuries you’ll see.

Trips and falls are one of the biggest culprits, according to WKRN in Nashville, and it’s easy to understand why. Not only do most trick-or-treating and parties take place at night when visibility is low (visibility that lowers even further when wearing a mask), but long or bulky costumes can easily snag or trip those wearing them. Trips and fall injuries already make up 21% of emergency room visits-resulting in everything from sprains and bruises to head injuries and stitches-so get ready, you’ll probably see one or two before the evening shift ends.

Halloween drivers accounts for another major portion of Halloween emergency room visits. In fact, according to State Farm, Halloween is considered the “deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents”, with the deadliest accidents happening between 6pm and 7pm. And as the evening gets later and parties wrap up, the danger of drunk driving accidents increases as well, and these incidents can become tragic very quickly, as was the case with Jean Dyess, who was killed by a drunk driver while trick-or-treating with her kids. So remember, don’t just prepare to see these kinds of emergencies-help prevent them by reminding your friends who aren’t working to be sure and use a designated driver.

Cuts requiring stitches are another injury you’ll probably see, caused by knife slips while carving those pumpkins for the front porch. Believe it or not, pumpkin carving injuries are the most common injuries of the Halloween season, accounting for 56% of cases in 2013. (Avoid these injuries yourself by using special pumpkin carving tools instead of kitchen knives for your jack-o-lanterns).

Some other cases that may come through those emergency room doors include:

  • Dog bites from pooches protecting their homes from costumed “intruders”.
  • Dental injuries caused by hard candies or falls.
  • Diabetes-related emergencies.
  • Eye injuries from sharp costume props.
  • Eye injuries from costume, non-prescription contact lenses.
  • Burns from flammable costumes.
  • Allergic reactions (many candies contain peanuts, a common trigger).

These may not be the “poisoned candy from strangers” urban legend emergencies that we grew up with as kids, but the holiday can lead to some long lines and long hours at your hospital or clinic. Fortunately, these are exactly the types of situations that you train for during your classes at Unitek College, and with that training to rely on, we know those patients are in great hands.

Good luck!

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