The solar eclipse will be upon us in a matter of days, and we're all gearing up for viewing parties, inevitable Instagrams, and... emergency room visits?
As it turns out, while we're all scrambling to get special eclipse-viewing glasses, doctors are bracing themselves for an expected spike in emergency room visits. In fact, they're so wary that the American College of Emergency Physicians has sent out a statement.
"I suspect there will be an increase in patient traffic to ERs, especially in the areas expecting a large influx of eclipse watchers," Becky Parker, MD, FACEP, president of the ACEP, said in the statement.
The ACEP even consulted emergency physicians across the country to get a sense of what they expect to see on Monday. Unsurprisingly, hospitals in areas that are in the path of totality, where the moon will completely eclipse the sun, are anticipating an increase in emergency room visits due to eclipse-watchers who may not have protected their eyes well enough. However, Dr. Parker said that even the mere fact that the eclipse may shake up our daily lives could be enough to cause a stir.
"When a population surges, even temporarily, ER visits tend to rise," she said in the statement. "Anything out of the ordinary that shakes up a regular routine, like this eclipse, or daylight savings, can lead to more vehicle accidents. Be mindful of that."
"Like many experts have said, emergency physicians remind the public that it’s extremely important to protect your eyes during this eclipse," Dr. Parker said. "If you choose to look at it, you must use proper eye protection from a reputable manufacturer. Staring at the sun — even for a second — can cause severe, permanent loss of vision. Remember, regular sunglasses do NOT offer enough protection."
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