Preventing Holiday Hand Injuries

 

September 30, 2005  |  

It happens every year at the holidays: The UCSD Medical Center Emergency Room pages the surgeon on call for the UCSD Hand Surgery Service to examine a hand injured by an errant knife while carving a turkey, cutting open pumpkins or other hard squash, or chopping all the food ingredients that goes into holiday meals.

But, says Reid Abrams, M.D., Chief of the Hand Surgery Service, a little caution and a few common sense rules can prevent a painful injury, surgery, and lengthy treatment.

Abrams offers up the following tips for a safe and pain-free holiday season:

  • Always cut away from yourself. And, when cutting into a pumpkin or turkey, don’t place your free hand opposite the side where the blade is entering. If you push too hard you will impale your hand.
  • Carve and chop in a well-lit, dry area so you can see what you’re doing and the item you’re carving won’t slip.
  • Make sure the handles of your chopping and carving instruments are dry when using them, so your cutting hand doesn’t slip down the handle and onto the blade accidentally slicing your hand.
  • Consider using an electric knife for ease of carving turkey or a ham.
  • A good pair of kitchen sheers eases the job of cutting bones and joints.
  • Keep your meat carving and chopping knives very sharp. Nothing causes accidents faster than a knife too dull to cut but sharp enough to slice into your hand. Be careful not to force the knife. If your knife is sharp you won’t have to force it.
  • Children should not be allowed to carve meat or pumpkins. They don’t yet have the dexterity or coordination to work with sharp instruments.
  • Finally, if you do get hurt while carving, if it’s a deep wound or if you can’t control the bleeding, get to an emergency room as soon as possible.

    # # #

    News Media Contact
    Jeffree Itrich
    619-543-6163

    UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: /news/

     


 


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