Fourth of July weekend spurs spike in emergency room visits

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For most people, the Fourth of July holiday means freedom, fireworks and family gatherings. But doctors at Eskenazi Health say they’re also expecting a lot of emergency room visits as well.

Doctors say between July 2 and 5 they can see a 15-20 percent increase in emergency room visits. The most common case for these visits is attributed to fireworks-related injuries.

“Traumatic injuries to the hands, to the face, also eyes and ears can be problematic and those are just the most common things. Obviously we see burns almost routinely this time of year,” said Dr. Charles Marimonti, Chief of the Care Integration Unit.

After fireworks-related injuries, Marimonti says alcohol-related injuries contribute to the spike. Though he adds, alcohol-related injuries can often go hand in hand with firework-related injuries.

“And then when you mix that with the fireworks, we see lots of accidents attributed to being alcohol-related as well as with the fireworks and burns,” he said.

Rounding out the top three, Marimonti says flare ups to chromic medical problems also spike. This is commonly due to people forgetting to take their medications.

“With the amount of family events that go on this year folks just tend to forget their medications. They also forget to mind their diets so after a few days of poor dietary intake, high salt, lots of alcohol, we see those typical chronic conditions flare up,” he said.

Despite the increase, Marimonti says there’s no need to be concerned about crowded emergency rooms, adding that emergency room staffs prepare every year to handle the rush.

“So if there’s concern, if there’s cause for alarm, pull that trigger and definitely come in and use the emergency departments that are here for you.”

While it’s always better to be safe than sorry, Marimonti says about 50 percent of the cases they see could easily be prevented if people exercised common sense.

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