Warm Weather Kicks Off Early ‘Trauma Season’

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Today officially marks the first day of spring, but doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Centerare already seeing summer-type accidents due to unseasonably warm weather.

It’s called “trauma season,” which typically runs from April to September, when Vanderbilt sees a near 50 percent increase in major trauma cases. But with much of the country experiencing warmer-than-usual temperatures this spring, this increase in traumatic injuries is already on the rise.

“As soon as the weather gets nice, our incidence of trauma cases increases exponentially,” said Rick Miller, M.D., chief of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Vanderbilt. “We have exceedingly higher admission rates from motor vehicle collisions, all-terrain vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents and other recreational activities that increase when the temperature rises.”

Vanderbilt also sees about a 30 percent increase in shootings, stabbings and other types of penetrating injuries in warmer weather months. Miller speculates this spike is because more people are outside, bringing together potential wrongdoers and victims in the same place.

Miller’s biggest tip for staying safe is to wear safety equipment such as helmets and seatbelts and to always be aware of your surroundings.

“Watch out for the other guy – people driving fast, motorcyclists and bicyclists,” he said. “Make smart decisions when at recreational facilities such as parks and lakes, and obviously, never combine drinking with driving or other strenuous physical activities, as this is fraught with danger.” 

Vanderbilt has the only level 1 trauma center in a 150-mile radius with nearly 4,000 admissions per year.

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