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Healthy Balance

The Most Common Reasons for Summer ER Visits

two males playing basketball outside

Every year, emergency room (ER) visits across the country spike as temperatures rise and people spend more time outdoors. The activities and festivities we enjoy during the summer months may help us improve our physical and mental health. We tend to be more physically active and socially connected. But these same activities may also make it more likely we’ll get injured or sick.

Common ER Visits During the Summer

These are some of the most common injuries doctors and nurses treat in the emergency department during the summer months.

Sprains, Strains, Cuts, Broken Bones, and Other Orthopedic Injuries

The more active you are, the higher the risk of an injury. That's especially true if you’ve gotten a little out of shape over the winter. No matter your age, it’s not uncommon to injure your knee sliding into second base during a softball game, twist your ankle playing basketball, or fall off your bike.

According to the National Health Statistics Report, these sports and recreational activities are the most likely to cause ER visits in people ages 5-24:

Burns

Hot grills, backyard fire pits, sparklers, and fireworks can cause serious burns in both children and adults. In fact, fireworks alone were responsible for 10,000 ER visits in 2019, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Dehydration

Spending too much time sweating in the hot sun may lead to dehydration symptoms, including:

If you don’t drink enough to replace lost body fluids, you may soon find yourself in the ER due to dehydration or heat exhaustion.

Drowning

Drownings and near-drownings can occur in any body of water, from kiddie pools to lakes to the ocean. The highest drowning rates are in children ages 1 to 4, and drowning is more common in males than females, but it can happen to anyone.

Sunburn

Watch out for a severe or blistering sunburn with:

If that happens, the ER is the best place to be. In 2014, more than 33,000 people visited the ER due to severe sunburns, according to a study published in Practice Update.

Recently Injured?

If you're still in pain, our orthopedic experts can make sure everything is okay.

Foodborne Illnesses

Hot temperatures make it much easier for bacteria to grow on food. If you eat food that’s been sitting outside for hours, you may be more likely to spend time in the ER due to food poisoning.

Stay Safe This Summer

Staying vigilant when enjoying summer activities may help you avoid an unexpected trip to the hospital. The tips below make it less likely you’ll experience the types of injuries and illnesses listed above that can send you to the ER:

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