Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for many Americans, with an abundance of family, friends, food and football. However, for some people it can be anything but happy. For them the holiday can be a time of anguish rather than joy. During the holidays, some people experience greater family stress, some struggle with food and weight issues, while others don’t receive adequate care since facilities are often operating with minimal staff. Some of the medical issues that may arise can be averted or handled better with the help of medical analytics. Throughout this discussion, relevant analytics are suggested to help clinicians handle holiday-related medical issues and holiday stress management for themselves and their patients.   

Food Issues

Eating is a large part of the Thanksgiving holiday. Food poisoning can be an issue, with proper thawing and cooking of a turkey essential to avoid infection with salmonella or other enteric pathogens. Fire may be a problem for someone trying to deep fry a turkey without adequate precautions. Sometimes people joke about overdosing on nutmeg but this can be an actual problem for small children. Finally, if grandma cooks the meal, if she has loss of vision or early dementia, it can result in inappropriate ingredients being added to the various dishes.

Health Issues

Many countries are facing an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Health problems can arise when people overeat during the holidays. Some people find that turkey makes them sleepy, which can be a problem if they have sleep apnea.

Thanksgiving often involves a great deal of travel. This can also be a stressor, especially if winter weather arrives early. It can also pose problems for people who take medications if these are lost or forgotten. Travel sometimes leads to the spread of bacterial and viral infections, especially in crowded areas such as airports.

Family and Social Issues

Some families have dark secrets, and these can become major problems during the holidays. These may include conflicts between family members, substance abuse and physical abuse. The holidays can be a burden for those dealing with grief, loneliness, depression, social isolation or poverty.

Healthcare Issues

Healthcare workers also want to be with their families during the holidays, but someone has to provide care. Patient safety can become an issue if staff levels are reduced or key personnel are away. A patient who has a serious medical issue over the holiday may have to deal with delays or suboptimal care.


While Thanksgiving can be a wonderful experience, this may not be shared by all. The holidays can be a time when special precautions may be needed to avoid omissions in care. Medical algorithms can help fill gaps caused when people’s minds are elsewhere.