Thanksgiving is supposed to be synonymous with gratitude, friends, and family, but it is often spent in the emergency room. According to CDC data, Thanksgiving is the third busiest day in Idaho emergency rooms. By the end of the night, St. Luke's and St. Alphonsus will be filled with Thanksgiving-related cases. Most of these patients could have avoided their expensive medical experience by exercising self-control.

Cooking accidents top the list of Thanksgiving-related ER visits. The extra and more complex food preparation often involves inexperienced cooks trying new recipes they aren't prepared to handle, increasing the risk of kitchen injuries. Knife-related cuts from carving the turkey or dicing vegetables are other common culprits. Recently, the use of deep fryers for turkey by people who have never used one can lead to severe burns and even fires if the bird isn't properly thawed or the fryer is overfilled with oil.

Overeating is another common reason people end up in the ER on Thanksgiving. The typical high-fat, high-sugar, and high-sodium meal upset existing health conditions like heart disease or cause major gastro issues. The excessive sodium from processed meats and sauces leads to fluid retention, spikes your blood pressure, and puts you at risk for a heart attack.

Anytime a holiday involves lots of eating; food poisoning becomes a common reason to visit the ER. Many inexperienced cooks handling turkey and other poultry result in undercooking, increasing the risk of salmonella.

And let's not forget the alcohol. High numbers of DUI arrests happen in the Treasure Valley on Thanksgiving and also contribute to emergency room visits.

Finally, entertaining guests sometimes comes at a high cost. Innocent games can lead to physical injuries. What starts as a friendly football game can result in injuries. After a few drinks, people find it a lot easier to punch the person they are arguing with, leading to an emergency room trip and sometimes a visit from the Boise Police.

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