More Than 50 Air, Paintball Gun Injuries Present Daily to ER

In 2008, higher presentation among males, children, adolescents, those from rural, low income areas

TUESDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In 2008, an average of 56 emergency department visits per day were due to air and paintball gun injuries, with more visits for males, children, and adolescents, according to an August statistical brief based on Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project data published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Ryan Mutter, Ph.D., and Pamela Owens, Ph.D., from AHRQ in Rockville, Md., investigated the characteristics of emergency department visits for air and paintball gun injuries in 2008, including age, patient location, primary expected payer, and most common diagnoses.

The investigators reported an average 56 emergency department visits per day related to air and paintball injuries, with males five times more likely to be seen in emergency departments than females. The number of visits decreased by 20 percent between 2006 and 2008. About 60 percent of the emergency department visits were for children and adolescents aged 17 years and younger, with more than one in four visits for children aged 10 to 14 years, and one in nine for those aged 9 years or younger. One in four visits was billed as uninsured. Rural areas and low income communities had more emergency department visits due to air and paintball gun injuries than urban areas and high income communities. Open wounds of extremities, superficial injuries, and open wounds of head, neck, and trunk were the most common injuries.

"In 2008, there were over 20,300 emergency department visits for injuries caused by air and paintball guns," the authors write.

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