For many, holidays and alcohol are intricately linked. Unfortunately, this means trips to the emergency room (ER) tend to spike around various holidays. This means longer waiting times, overworked staff, and celebrations turned to pain and trauma. Avoid these problems by drinking responsibly and always having a designated driver or calling for an Uber if you don’t have a sober friend. But if your holidays still require non-life-threatening healthcare intervention, you can get ER-level treatment from the comfort of home.
So which days are the worst? When does the alcohol flow most freely? Which should you be most concerned about drunk drivers? Here are the top six booziest holidays:
Many Americans may not think of Jewish holidays as being particularly raucous, but where Purim is concerned, they’d be wrong. This “Festival of Lots” is meant to commemorate the salvation of the Jewish people from extinction in Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther. Today, it’s a day for costumes, sweets and drunkenness, sort of like a Halloween for adults.
Unlike other feast days, this one actually requires a particular level of drunkenness. In fact, there’s a specific command in the Talmud “to become intoxicated with wine on Purim until he is so intoxicated that he does not know how to distinguish between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordecai” (Megillah 7b). It’s no wonder that celebrants may get into trouble on Purim!
5. 4th of July
Independence Day a day for being outdoors with friends and family. But it’s also a day for fireworks. According to 2000-2018 injury data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, on average, more than 45,000 people visit U.S. hospital emergency rooms for treatment of injuries on July 4 and 5 – nearly 91,000 in total.
4. Cinco de Mayo
The fifth of May is a big day for tequila and Mexican food. The holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla when Mexico defeated the French Empire in 1862. While this is a relatively minor celebration in Mexico, the US has turned it into a celebration of Mexican culture, and for many, a great excuse to get drunk.
Especially in areas with a large Mexican-American population, May 5th means mariachi music, tacos, parades, and parties. Festivals in cities like Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago commonly feature roving groups of drunken revelers. And the excessive consumption of margaritas, tequila shots, and south-of-the-border themed beers means an uptick in alcohol-related injuries.
3. Thanksgiving Eve
While it’s not an official holiday, the night before Thanksgiving has become one of the most popular party nights of the year. College students are home for the weekend. Most people won’t be returning to their jobs for the next four days. And Thanksgiving Eve kicks off the festivities of fall and winter holidays for the US, leading to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the month-long celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah, and finally the New Year. These factors add up to a day when many drop inhibitions, go out on the town and get rowdy.
This Wednesday night in November is a big night for bars across the US. It’s known to many as a night for binge drinking because it’s not like anyone has anywhere to be in the morning. In some circles the night before Thanksgiving is known as Blackout Wednesday because so many get blackout drunk. And in many parts of the US, this is actually the worst night of the year for drunk driving.
2. St. Patrick’s Day
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and the Feast of Saint Patrick was originally a religious holiday in the Emerald Isle. Starting in the mid-1990s, the Republic of Ireland began a campaign to make it more of a cultural celebration with festivals and parades. But much like Cinco de Mayo, this low-key holiday in its native country has become a drunken party fest in the US.
Known for green beer, big parades and loud parties, this is a day when the US seems to be painted green. But there’s a far darker side to this holiday. From 2012 through 2016, 269 people died from drunk driving accidents related to St. Patrick’s celebrations. And in the morning following, nearly 69% of crash fatalities involved DUI.
1. New Year’s Eve
The biggest drinking night of the year? New Year’s Eve of course. From the dropping of the ball in Times Square to “America’s Party” on Las Vegas’s Strip, it seems nearly everyone celebrates this holiday. And everyone from Martha Stewart to the Latin Times has a list of NYE cocktails.
The evening of December 31st into the morning of January 1st is a big time for wild parties, fireworks, and lots of alcohol. This is a dangerous and sometimes deadly combination. In the 12 hours from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., there are 71 percent more DUI-related accidents than an average weekend night. AAA reports that more pedestrians are killed on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year.
What to Do If You Need Immediate Care
Between 2006 and 2014, alcohol-related ER visits increased by nearly 50 percent. Emergencies include drunk driving accidents, alcohol poisoning, and alcohol-related injuries. But many may not know that excessive use of alcohol has also been tied to some types of cancer, heart failure, liver or pancreatic diseases, high blood pressure, and suicide. And any of these concerns can send drinkers to the ER.
On these big party holidays, the local ER is probably clogged with alcohol-related injuries and health emergencies. And if you’ve had a few, the last thing you should do is drive yourself to the hospital. So what do you do if you find yourself in need of medical care on Cinco de Mayo or New Year’s Eve?
Get healthcare delivered! The qualified medical teams from DispatchHealth can come to you and treat a wide range of injuries and illnesses. From injuries like sprains or lacerations to illnesses like high blood pressure or food poisoning, these caring and competent providers can help. In fact, they treat most of what your local ER treats, without the costly ambulance ride or germy waiting room.
So the next time you need urgent medical care, during the holidays or not, call the folks from DispatchHealth. They’ll come to you, treat your health concerns, and have you feeling better faster than you might think!
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.