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Most Common Injuries Seen in the ER

If you work in the emergency room, there probably isn’t much that you haven’t seen before. Although it’s an emergency room where each case is different and you have to be ready for whatever comes through the front doors, you probably start to notice a pattern of common injuries that you see fairly often.

In data that was collected in 2018 by the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) wrote that infants under the age of 1 year had the highest emergency room visit rates, followed by adults aged 75 and over next. And, in 2018, the data showed that there were around 130 million emergency department visits in the United States, which means that the emergency room gets visited pretty frequently.

Being that we are all humans and have accidents or get sick, there’s probably a good chance you personally have gone to the emergency room a time or two yourself. So, what causes the most frequent visits? Let’s dive into that topic next.

Most Common Injuries Seen in the ER

patient on exam table in emergency room

We have all been there before – we’ve all had that moment of panic where you or maybe someone you are with becomes involved in an accident or becomes so ill they need to receive immediate, urgent medical attention. Depending on the severity of the accident or problem, you may end up calling first responders or driving to the emergency room yourself. Either way, when you arrive, you should be able to get the care you need as soon as possible.

So, what are the top common injuries most medical professionals see in the ER? Here are a few of them:

  • Chest Pains: One of the most common reasons why people visit the ER is chest pains. In fact, nearly half a million people die each year due to heart complications even though chest pain visits have been on the decline in more recent years
  • Abdominal Pains: Per Beaumont Emergency Hospital, around 2,000 people visit the emergency room every single day due to some type of abdominal pain. Mostly, these abdominal pains are from bacterial and viral infections, but the actual culprit can be due to several different things, such as food poisoning/allergies, kidney stones, stomach virus, appendicitis, ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Tooth Issues: Although you would think seeing a dentist would be ideal for this sort of problem, most people who come to the emergency room with some type of tooth issue are because dentist offices are closed when the emergency happens.
  • Broken Bones and Sprains: Unfortunately, broken bones and sprains are a fairly common occurrence that happens to people regardless of their age or condition. Accidents, playing sports, or partaking in other physical activities can all be the culprit of why these types of injuries happen. Although not all sprains require ER treatment, broken bones need to be looked at immediately due to the risk they pose to other organs. If the injured area(s) has discoloration, swelling, or visible bone, it will need some type of medical attention.
  • Upper Respiratory Infections: Infections and viruses are another fairly common cause of people visiting the emergency room, especially within the last few years.
  • Contusions and Cuts: Cuts and contusions are one of the most common reasons why people visit the emergency room, according to Beaumont Emergency hospital. They can occur through any activity and often require urgent emergency attention. The majority of cuts and contusions are due to accidents with a glass or a knife, which can cause severe bleeding.
  • Back Pain: Back pain is also a fairly common reason why people make a trip to the emergency room hoping for treatment. Back pains and or muscle strain in the back can be due to an accident or physical injuries while playing sports or by lifting heavy things. It was regarded as the number one reason for visiting the ER in the past, but the number has declined in recent years.
  • Skin Infections: Skin infections can cause abnormal reactions in the body and in the majority of cases, they do require someone to seek urgent emergency care. A skin infection can also bring on other symptoms and can spread rapidly over the body in severe cases. Nerve damage, muscle weakness, lesions on the body, rashes, and blisters are all symptoms that could indicate a skin infection is present.
  • Foreign Objects in the Body: Per the Beaumont Emergency Hospital, emergency room centers all over the world report that one of the most common trips to the emergency room is due to foreign objects inside the body.

Although these are only a fraction of the injuries that are seen in the emergency room, it’s some of the most common. And, some of the most common reasons that people get these injuries are from falls, motor vehicle accidents, and by playing sports.

In fact, according to St. Luke’s Health, falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits each year. The CDC discovered that emergency room fall-related visits increase with a patient’s age, and older adults who have fallen often avoid talking to the doctor about it. However, when an elderly person falls, it could cause underlying issues such as hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries.

So, now that we know what the most common injuries are in the emergency room, we might also want to clarify what reasons are good reasons for making a trip out to see an ER would be.

When to Visit the ER

girl checking into emergency room

First responders and emergency medical professionals are there for you on your worst days. Accidents happen, so visiting an emergency room is typically the right thing to do if you are experiencing a real, life-threatening emergency. And because sometimes we don’t always listen to our gut and think we need immediate medical attention, it’s good to go over a few reasons why you should visit an ER.

If you are ever in an accident and experience any of the following, you should seek immediate, medical attention:

  • If you believe a bone may be broken or fractured
  • If there was a serious head injury, such as a concussion
  • If a laceration requires stitches
  • If bruising or swelling is severe

However, if for some reason you have an emergency other than the above and think you may need medical attention, you should always trust your own judgment and seek the help you need. Hopefully, when you go to an emergency hospital or urgent care provider, the lines won’t be too long and you can receive proper care.

So, if you aren’t in the medical field and wanted a little sneak peek into what emergency room life is like, you might be able to picture the injuries above and get a feel for what it’s like. Although every case that comes through the front door is different, you can always trust that these highly trained medical professionals have probably seen it before and should have the knowledge to do what’s best for the patient. If you think you or a loved one is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, be sure to call 9-1-1 or locate and get to the nearest emergency room possible.

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