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Strange (yet surprisingly common) holiday injuries, according to medical billing codes

Be careful this holiday season—8,900 people were injured while sledding last year.

holiday injuries

Our database of health insurance claims holds all sorts of fascinating insights—but perhaps none more festive than the answer to “How many people hurt themselves sledding last year?”

Back in August, we published a report on bizarre ICD-10 diagnoses that went viral. So this holiday season, we’re taking it one step further. Taking inspiration from a list of humorous, holiday-themed ICD-10 codes we found online, we decided to figure out how many people were actually diagnosed with these codes during last year's holiday season. What did we find? A surprising number.

holiday injuries

W000 - Fall due to ice and snow

  • 29,700 patients were diagnosed with “Fall due to ice and snow” as a cause of injury last holiday season.
  • Walking and hiking are the most commonly associated activities with slipping on ice and snow—and the most commonly associated injuries were (unfortunately) all to the head: contusions, lacerations, and muscle strain to the neck and shoulder area.

T33 - Superficial frostbite

  • 9,700 patients were diagnosed with “Superficial frostbite” last holiday season.
  • Superficial frostbite (the least severe version of frostbite) is quite common. We didn’t include more serious forms of frostbite, which can lead to permanent injury (numbness, affected joints or muscles, and losing all sensation in the affected area).

Y93G3 - Activity, cooking and baking

  • 1,600 patients were diagnosed with “Activity, cooking and baking” as a cause of injury last holiday season.
  • It’s difficult to tell from the codes alone if these diagnoses were a direct result of holiday-related activities—but for cooking and baking injuries, burns and cuts were the most common.

Z631 - Problems in relationship with in-laws

  • 200 patients were diagnosed with “Problems in relationship with in-laws” as a cause of injury last holiday season.
  • It looks like many of these patients were dealing with stress and anxiety. These types of symptoms are very common and not limited to folks who have terrible in-laws, however.

W11 - Fall from ladder

  • 11,700 patients were diagnosed with “Fall from ladder” as a cause of injury last holiday season.
  • We can’t say definitively what these people were doing when they fell from a ladder, but 11,700 people seems like a lot.

Y9323 - Activity, sledding

  • 8,900 patients were diagnosed with “Activity, sledding” as a cause of injury last holiday season.
  • Unfortunately, the most common injuries that resulted from sledding were concussions and other head injuries.

Y9259 - Shopping mall as place of injury

  • 2,400 patients were diagnosed with “Shopping mall as place of injury” last holiday season.
  • These were mostly minor injuries (like falls, cuts, and sprains).

W14 - Fall from tree

  • 1,400 patients were diagnosed with “Fall from tree” as a cause of injury last holiday season.
  • Alas, the data doesn’t tell us what type of tree they fell from.

Y92520 - Airport as place of injury

  • 200 patients were diagnosed with “Airport as place of injury” last holiday season.
  • Similar to shopping mall injuries, airport injuries also tended to be mundane (falls, cuts, sprains).

While this season can be a busy time for all, it's important to be careful while doing all your holiday activities—whether that's cooking a big dinner, shopping for gifts, or going sledding with the family. Stay safe this holiday season!

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