UK HealthCare

Summer is a Busy Time at Your Local Emergency Department

Dr. Andrew Bernard
Dr. Andrew Bernard, UK HealthCare Trauma Medical Director.

The University of Kentucky Public Relations & Strategic Communications Office provides a weekly health column available for use and reprint by news media. This week's column is by Dr. Andrew Bernard, UK HealthCare Trauma Medical Director.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 1, 2020) – Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer.

Across the Commonwealth, people are getting ready to make the most of warm weather and time off from work and school. Even though these activities may look different this season because of COVID-19, staff at your local emergency department are still preparing for the start of trauma season.

Historically, trauma season spans about six months. It's when emergency departments see an influx of patients. Since 2017, falls and car crashes account for more than 60% of patient volume in the emergency departments of UK HealthCare's Chandler and Good Samaritan hospitals. High speeds, jumps and an absence of helmets contribute most often to the severity of injuries from bikes, motorcycles and ATV's. Slipping in and around pools, falls from skateboards, bikes or playgrounds can also be avoided with proper safety gear and supervision. 

Tempers tend to flare when it's hot outside. Gunshot wounds are the next most common injury treated in emergency departments. While the vast majority of wounds are caused by gunshots, incidents involving BB, pellet and paintball guns are common, as well. Health care providers also see a spike in the number of children who are injured or killed by handguns and shotguns during the summer when there is less parental supervision.

Lakes and rivers across Kentucky may see more visitors this summer since a number of pools may be closed due to the coronavirus. While children are more likely to drown in pools, adults and teens are more likely to drown in natural bodies of water. Boating, tubing and water-skiing are all risky activities that should be enjoyed while wearing a life vest.

Accidents with fireworks, grills and trampolines are just a few other examples of ways you can land in the emergency department. Alcohol consumption is a major contributing factor in preventable injuries. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. When the spirits flow at cookouts, lake trips — even just around the house — the likelihood of injury increases 450%.

It's understandable that people want to avoid hospitals and emergency departments during the pandemic; however, UKHC emergency and trauma doctors want you to know that hospitals are safe and clean. The likelihood of contracting the coronavirus in these facilities is low. If you or someone you love is seriously injured, it is very important to seek emergency medical care immediately.

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