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How summer's heat leads to uptick in emergency room trips

Friday - 7/11/2014, 8:22am  ET

emergency room (AP)
Drug use and incidents of road rage can land more people in the emergency room during the summer. (AP)

WASHINGTON -- Summer weekends are time to have fun. But some people's revelry can land them in the emergency room.

"There's a statistically significant increase in assaults when the weather is warm," says Emergency Physician at Washington Adventist Hospital, Dr. Terry Jodire.

Weekend nights always are especially busy in the emergency department.

"Frequency of assaults and interpersonal violence is higher than it is throughout the week. We do see that. It's a real phenomenon," says Dr. Robert Shesser, Chairman of Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University.

Particularly on weekend nights, people end up in emergency rooms while high.

"Intoxicated from a variety of intoxicants. Alcohol, cocaine, PCP and we're beginning to see a little methamphetamine in D.C., which we had never seen before," Shesser says.

Meth users may end up in the emergency room because they're behaving peculiarly and someone calls an ambulance, Shesser says. He adds they might have had a physical altercation or car crash. Some users who need medical care experience cardiovascular issues or seizures.

Summer Road Rage

Summer fun also can melt when hot temperatures help tempers flare on the highway.

"Road rage incidents go up exponentially. Everyone's fuse is just a little shorter and people react without much more thought," says Jodire of Washington Adventist.

Even Canadians, renowned for being courteous, can lose their cool in remarkable ways on hot summer days.

A 2-year-old boy was pepper sprayed in the face in Surrey, British Columbia, when his dad was assaulted in an apparent road rage incident, according to CBC News. The dad allegedly angered men in a passing car when he shouted at them to slow down.

How to calm down

People who feel their tempers rising may need to give themselves a "time-out."

Psych Central offers tips to calm down when tempers flare up.

  • Walk away
  • Close your eyes
  • Find solitude
  • Go outside
  • Find a body of water
  • Take deep breaths
  • Listen to music

When observing tempers rising between people who may become violent, a nightclub security consultant tells Esquire Magazine one person should try to remove the less aggressive individual from the area while someone else tries to pacify the more aggressive person.

Using phrases such as, "take it easy" and "it's not worth it," can help ease the tension.

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