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Emergency rooms, clinics see more injuries during holiday season

By: Stacey Welsh

EL PASO, Texas -- The holidays are usually a time when families get together to celebrate, but whether it's cooking or trying out new gifts, more going on in your house could also mean more injuries.

"We have injuries related to new toys. We have patients that fall off bicycles and skates. They're not wearing appropriate gear. The one that's most common is a trampoline," registered nurse Jennifer Castaneda said. Castaneda is the emergency room director at Las Palmas Medical Center.

She also said the E.R. sees more burns from cooking this time of year.

"Children are running around in the kitchen and can end up with second-degree burns, or they get too close to the fireplace and they get second-degree burns," Castaneda said.

While Las Palmas typically sees about 120 patients in the emergency room a 24-hour period, Castaneda said it sees about 160 during the holiday season.

"We want to make sure that people are aware that when you have family come over that you kind of child proof your environment to make sure it's safe for the little ones that are not normally in your house," Castaneda said.

It's also important to be aware of your surroundings.

"You want to make sure that you always have people around, especially when you're having people put up decorations or taking them down. You want people to be holding ladders," Castaneda said.

She also said it's important to clean countertops after preparing meat to avoid getting sick to your stomach.

In addition to emergency rooms, a local clinic says it sees patients with holiday related injuries.
"I took care of a woman who had fallen with a glass in her hand at a Christmas party, and she had cut her hand. I had to sew her up," registered nurse Bobbi Thomas said. Thomas is a health care provider at the Eastside Medical Care Center.

Thomas and Castaneda said it is important to know which injuries are more appropriate for emergency room care, rather than clinic care.

"They want to avoid the emergency room, so the ones that we always think about is people who are short of breath [or have] bad chest pains," Thomas said.

Thomas also said clinics are usually not equipped to handle severe fractures.

"When it's a mild fracture, it can be treated at any urgent care center. Some breaks require manipulation of the bone and you would need sedation or medication," Castaneda said.
Thomas also said clinics call 911 if a patient comes in with a severe condition.