Emergency room is busy spot during holidays - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Emergency room is busy spot during holidays

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Hopefully you'll have a safe holiday weekend.  But unfortunately, holiday mishaps land thousands of people in the emergency room each year.

You might take part of your holiday weekend to string some Christmas lights.  But if you're not careful, spreading some cheer could turn out like a scene straight from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Or maybe you'll get a little carried away cooking and catch your turkey fryer on fire.  Bottom line—any number of holiday dangers, including eating, can land you in the emergency room.

"Certainly we always worry about cardiac problems because these are things that kill people.  And so we're very aggressive dealing with people with chest pains.  So if you are having that, come see us or other providers because it can be very real.  And you hate to think, 'This is just a stomach ache,' when it turns out you're having a big heart attack," said Dr. Todd Lawrence with Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo.

With heightened holiday travel, car crashes are another common cause for ER visits.  Be sure to watch your step.  The CDC says more than 39,000 people wind up hospitalized each holiday season from slips and trips.  At Covenant's emergency room, that means lots of doctors and nurses are standing by this Thanksgiving to meet your medical needs.

"We're fully staffed, and we know we're going to get busy so we have some extra staff available.  And we're kind of ready for the different gamut of things that are going to be coming in," said Dr. Lawrence.

Some hospital staff look forward to working Thanksgiving, as their jobs and extra holiday pay make them quite grateful.  But make no mistake, hospital staff hope they don't have to see you this holiday season.

In addition to holiday mishaps leading to ER visits, we're also in the middle of cold and flu season.  So doctors advise frequent hand-washing and getting the flu shot to keep you healthy during the holidays.

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