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Ed Yeates reporting Wasatch Front emergency rooms are getting ready for what traditionally will be the busiest week of the year. In fact, it's already started. Tonight, doctors have some advice that may keep you out of the hospital this holiday season.
Think you saw a lot of ambulances running to and fro during the summer break? Watch this week unfold between Christmas and New Year. Some hospital emergency rooms are expecting 200 people per day, if not more!
Dr. Craig Shane, with Intermountain Medical Center, echoes what his colleagues are predicting this week. Between auto accidents and people trying out their new toys--sledding, snowboarding, tubing and more--ER doors will revolve around the clock.
"We saw a young woman, who I believe was 8, had a sledding injury--went over a little bump, and it flew in the air, and Dad landed on her and actually broke her leg in two places," Shane said.
Also, with many doctor and physician offices closed for the holiday, people are using ERs not just for injuries, but for general sicknesses like colds and the flu.
Steve Green came into the ER today with his sons Colton and Canyon. Six-year-old Colton had some pretty unusual fever blisters on the eye. "We would have gone to the physician, but it was either yesterday or today they wanted to see him again, and his doctor was closed," Steve explained.
Steve had no choice but to come to the ER. However, others suffering recreational injuries could have avoided a trip here. "Every year within our system, we probably see one or two who end up with serious neck injuries and even paralysis from that," Shane said.
Some advice: know where you're skiing, sledding or tubing; do it in safe places; and only one person on tubes at a time. Also, watch out for icy conditions around the house. Don't fall!
Shane says the ER also sees a lot of injuries from other holiday activities. "Many people who are out of town--who have no physician--who perhaps eat too much, or drink too much, or fight too much with family members."
In this case, moderation and patience also help make for a safe holiday.
For those who venture outdoors for the holidays, ER doctors also caution about hypothermia, so make sure you dress for the weather.