There’s a diagnosis code for every springtime affliction you can think of.
Spring fever is not a definitive diagnosis in ICD-10-CM; it’s more like a change in mindset. It’s a lift in mood and physical or behavioral changes that coincide with the arrival of spring and longer periods of daylight. Spring fever may include an increase in energy, vitality, activities, and amorousness. The changes may be particularly noticeable in people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) (F34.8 Other persistent mood [affective] disorders).
Let’s explore some of the potential hazards associated with spring fever activities and the ICD-10-CM codes to report for various springtime ailments and injuries.
Spring Sport Accidents
When spring arrives, kids and adults get out more and become more active in sports (Y93.5 Activities involving other sports and athletics played individually or Y93.6 Activities involving other sports and athletics played as a team or group). From soccer balls and volleyballs to golf clubs and baseball bats, there are a lot of dangers for which you need to be on high alert when participating in these activities. Arm yourself with these springtime sport “struck by” codes:
W21.02 Struck by soccer ball
W21.03 Struck by baseball
W21.04 Struck by golf ball
W21.06 Struck by volleyball
W21.11 Struck by baseball bat
W21.13 Struck by golf club
Once the snow is gone and roads and sidewalks are clear, people hop to the pavement with wheels on their feet. Unfortunately, these recreational activities are potentially dangerous. If you or your kids are inclined to dust off your roller skates, roller blades, or roller shoes, be careful of these potential hazards:
V00.01 Pedestrian on foot injured in collision with roller-skater
V00.11 In-line roller-skate accident
V00.112 In-line roller-skater colliding with stationary object
V00.15 Heelies accident
V00.151 Fall from heelies
V00.152 Heelies colliding with stationary object
Spring is also when people polish up their bike, oil the chain, and put air in their tires to take it for a spin. Just be careful not to overfill the tires (W37.0 Explosion of bicycle tire). When bicycling on a trail or sidewalk, you may encounter dangers such as V10 Pedal cycle rider injured in collision with pedestrian or animal. While riding in the road, you may encounter motor vehicle dangers such as V14 Pedal cycle rider injured in collision with heavy transport vehicle or bus. Always wear a helmet to avoid head injury (S01.81XA Laceration without foreign body of other part of head, initial encounter).
Gardening Isn’t for the Faint of Heart
Another area you may put your increased springtime energy into is gardening (Y93.H2 Activity, gardening and landscaping). Use Y93.H2 to describe circumstances causing the injury, not the nature of the injury (for example, activities involving pruning, trimming shrubs, and weeding). For the accident’s place of occurrence, look to Y92.007 Garden or yard of unspecified non-institutional (private) residence as the place of occurrence of the external cause.
While gardening, be on the lookout for hazards that may trigger an allergic reaction such as pollen and sting-bearing pollinators. You may need code T63.441A Toxic effect of venom of bees, accidental (unintentional), initial encounter if you have an adverse reaction to a bee sting. For uncontrollable sneezing and watery eyes, you may be suffering from J30.1 Allergic rhinitis due to pollen or J30.2 Other seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Be sure to wear thick gardening gloves when pruning roses and raspberry bushes to avoid W60.XXXA Contact with nonvenomous plant thorns and spines and sharp leaves, initial encounter.
Because the grass feels soft on the feet and the sunshine feels warm on the toes, it’s tempting to garden barefoot or in flip-flops. Wearing sturdy shoes if you’re digging with a shovel or trimming the hedges with an industrial weedwhacker. Without proper protection, you may have a medical claim that includes W29.3 Contact with powered garden and outdoor hand tools and machinery and Z89.419 Acquired absence of unspecified great toe.
Creepy crawlies thrive in the dirt and linger under bushes and around hedges. The one that startles gardeners the most is a snake. Depending on which kind of snake it is, you may call on one of these codes for related injuries:
W59.11XA Bitten by nonvenomous snake, initial encounter
T63.001A Toxic effect of unspecified snake venom, accidental (unintentional), initial encounter
Gardening can become addictive, especially when it’s been half of a year since you’ve been able to do it last. If you are gardening when April showers come rolling through, be sure to take cover or you may find yourself in a dangerous situation such as T75.01XA Shock due to being struck by lightning, initial encounter.
Farms are busy places in the springtime. Fields need to be planted and livestock are having babies. For injuries on the farm, use place of occurrence codes from series Y92.7 Farm as the place of occurrence such as:
Y92.71 Barn as the place of occurrence of the external cause
Y92.72 Chicken coop as the place of occurrence of the external cause
Y92.73 Farm field as the place of occurrence of the external cause
Y92.74 Orchard as the place of occurrence of the external cause
Y92.79 Other farm location as the place of occurrence of the external cause
Farmers get their fields ready for planting by using heavy machinery. If an injury occurs from agricultural equipment, you may need to call on W30.9 Contact with unspecified agricultural machinery.
After the winter, livestock are feeling frisky due to the longer, warmer days, and gestating females are ready to give birth — or already have new babies by their sides. If you get between a mother and her baby, or an animal crazed by the fresh grass, you may need medical treatment for any injuries incurred, such as:
W55.21XA Bitten by a cow, initial encounter
W55.22 Struck by cow
W55.31XA Bitten by other hoof stock, initial encounter
W55.41XA Bitten by pig, initial encounter
W61.33XA Pecked by chicken, initial encounter
W61.62XD Struck by duck, subsequent encounter
When Spring Can’t Come Soon Enough
In the northern states, where climate changes and snowstorms are unpredictable, the winter may seem endless, with no glimmer of hope for spring (F32.9 Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified). That’s when the winter humdrums and SAD can really set in from lack of sun and not enough mood-lifting vitamin D (E55.9 Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified). Too much cold and too many piles of snow can cause cabin fever to set in (R45.1 Restlessness and agitation). One way to find solace is in a good book and a warm, cozy electric blanket; just be careful not to turn it up too high (X16.XXXA Contact with hot heating appliances, radiators and pipes, initial encounter).
Remember: If snow-induced cabin fever gets to the point that you are a pajama-wearing hermit (R46.0 Very low level of personal hygiene) or you are afraid to leave the house (F40.01 Agoraphobia with panic disorder), take comfort in knowing spring will be here before you know it.
Michelle A. Dick, BS, is a freelance content specialist, providing writing, editorial expertise, and graphic imagery to clients. Prior to becoming a free agent, she was an executive editor for AAPC, editor-in-chief at Eli Research, and editor at Element K Journals. After earning a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo State, Dick entered the publishing industry as a graphic artist, ad coordinator, and web designer for White Directory Publishers, Inc.