’Tis the holiday season—a time to decorate, indulge in tasty treats, and celebrate with family and friends. Not surprisingly, the busy whirlwind that is December is ripe for injuries and accidents. As this Code It Right Online blog post explains, “holiday decorations like Christmas trees and candles and holiday-decorating activities such as stringing outdoor lights can result in injuries, deaths, and property loss.” Not the most pleasant thing to think about during what should be the most joyous of seasons. Still, people get hurt, and healthcare professionals have to be prepared.

Luckily, ICD-10 codes are super specific, providing ways to notate all types of incidents, injuries, and activities. With that in mind, I pinpointed a dozen ICD-10 codes applicable to the holiday season—and structured them to fit the theme of this Christmas classic:

On the first day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
Z63.1, problems in relationship with in-laws
The holidays bring families together—and sometimes that doesn’t go so well.

On the second day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
W45.1XXA, paper entering through skin, initial encounter
Wrapping presents can wreak havoc on hands, especially when you’re trying to make really even, crisp folds.

On the third day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
W11.XXXA, fall on and from ladder, initial encounter
It takes a lot of effort to craft winning (and sometimes musically synced) outdoor light displays. That being said, ladder safety is paramountAccording to this One Medical article, which references the most recent CDC report, 15,000 people visited US emergency rooms in November and December of 2012 as a result of holiday decorating—with one-third of those ER visits resulting from falls.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
W51.XXXA, accidental striking against or bumped into by another person, initial encounter
Shopping is a contact sport. And while some of you are breathing a sigh of relief because Black Friday is over, remember that the busiest shopping day of the year is actually the Saturday before Christmas. So be safe out there, procrastinators, and watch out for people throwing elbows.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
W00.1XXA, fall from stairs and steps due to ice and snow, initial encounter
This loop clip from Home Alone says it all.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
T63.791A, toxic effect of contact with other venomous plant, accidental (unintentional), initial encounter
Mistletoe, poinsettia, and holly berries are all poisonous, and every year some folks—especially children—get a little too curious about these decorative and festive plants. 

On the seventh day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
T75.4XXA, electrocution, initial encounter
From stringing up lights that have bare wiring exposed to piggybacking extension cords, there are a lot of unsafe ways to use Christmas lights.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
F10.929, alcohol use, unspecified with intoxication, unspecified
We all love a good holiday party. If you enjoy too much eggnog, though, you could suffer a ho-ho-hangover—or worse.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
T28.0XXA, burn of mouth and pharynx, initial encounter
Be careful with that hot cocoa!

On the tenth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
S30.841A, external constriction of abdominal wall, initial encounter
This one is for Santa when he gets stuck in a chimney—or any person who attempts to surprise the kiddies by sliding down the smokestack. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well.)

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
W55.32XA, struck by other hoof stock, initial encounter
Whether you’re actually herding Rudolph or just looking for a code befitting of Randy Brooks’s Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer song, this one is for you. 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the season gave to me:
X00.0XXA, exposure to flames in uncontrolled fire in building or structure, initial encounter
Real Christmas trees may be beautiful, but their needles and branches make great kindling. According to this news report, between 2009 and 2011, “there were an estimated 200 fires in which the tree was the first thing to ignite, resulting in 10 deaths and $16 million in property loss.” 


As you can see, there are a lot of potential fa-la-la-la-d’ohs for everyone this holiday season. And that’s where rehab therapists come in—to provide treatment for the aches and pains as well as preventative tips. Take Old Towne Physical Therapy for example. They’re offering ladder safety tips this season. How are you helping your communities avoid the 12 Codes of Christmas? Share your stories—as well as additional codes applicable to this treacherous time of year—in the comments below.

Looking to have more holiday fun with ICD-10 codes? (Yes, I realize how nerdy that question sounds.) Check out this ICD-10 gift guide and Ode to Rudolph.

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