NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The weather is getting colder and the holidays are approaching, which means there’s a chance your health could be at risk.
“Cold weather typically actually lowers volumes in the ER,” said Dr. Marshall Hall, who serves as TriStar Skyline Medical Center’s medical director.
Hall is familiar with winter weather injuries.
“When we have snow, we’ll see an increased number of car crashes, but they’re typically lower speed and less severe,” he said.
The holidays typically bring families together, which actually is a good thing for hospitals.
“People are kind of hunkering down, being with family, and they’re not out getting as many injuries and things like that, so we see a decreased volume on holidays themselves, as well,” the doctor explained.
However, according to Hall, cold weather can still bring about a variety of injuries.
“The biggest one that we will see is falls,” he said.
Broken bones, sprained ankles and wrists, and head injuries can bring people to the emergency room.
In addition, cold weather can cause hypothermia and frostbite if you aren’t careful.
“Just being outside in really cold weather, it doesn’t take that long to get hypothermic, especially when you’re talking about single digit numbers,” said Hall.
Hall said the medical center rarely sees cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, but it can happen.
“If somebody’s heat’s been shut off and you resort to using a grill or another outdoor fire sometimes indoors, you can have carbon monoxide poisoning,” he explained.
Hall also recommended checking on those who might not have heat in order to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or other possible injuries.
“Be thinking about your elderly family and friends,” he said. “Check in on them during this time. Make sure that the heat is working because if it’s not working for them, this could be fatal.”
According to Hall, while patient volumes in the ER drop on holidays like Christmas, hospitals always see a spike the following day because people are back outside for various reasons.