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Are there seasonal patterns for emergency department visits for head injuries in the USA? Findings from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program

Abstract

Introduction Previous international research suggests that the incidence of head injuries may follow seasonal patterns. However, there is limited information about how the numbers and rates of head injuries, particularly sports- and recreation-related head injuries, among adults and children evaluated in the emergency department (ED) vary by month in the USA. This information would provide the opportunity for tailored prevention strategies.

Methods We analysed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program from 2016 to 2019 to examine both monthly variation of ED visit numbers and rates for head injuries overall and those due to sports and recreation.

Results The highest number of head injuries evaluated in the ED occurred in October while the lowest number occurred in February. Among males, children ages 0–4 years were responsible for the highest rates of head injury-related ED visits each year, while in females the highest rates were seen in both children ages 0–4 and adults ages 65 and older. The highest number of head injuries evaluated in the ED due to sports and recreation were seen in September and October. Head injury-related ED visits due to sports and recreation were much more common in individuals ages 5–17 than any other age group.

Conclusion This study showed that head injury-related ED visits for all mechanisms of injury, as well as those due to sports- and recreation-related activities, followed predictable patterns—peaking in the fall months. Public health professionals may use study findings to improve prevention efforts and to optimise the diagnosis and management of traumatic brain injury and other head injuries.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Concussion
  • Dissemination
  • Health Education
  • Public Health

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are publicly available.

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