Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like football, family and a perfect slice of turkey. But one thing that is sure to ruin the day is a serious hand injury. This holiday season, Dr. Brandon P. Donnelly cautions everyone in the kitchen to follow a few holiday hand safety tips to protect their hands and ensure a happy celebration.
Every year during Thanksgiving, and throughout the holiday season, people sustain serious hand injuries. From carving turkeys to cutting avocados, hand injuries are all too common in the kitchen.
Stay Focused on the Basics
Holiday hand injuries are not exclusively linked to carving turkeys, hams, and roasts. “Many hand injuries also occur during post-meal clean-up,” Dr. Donnelly says. “Holiday hand safety needs to be practiced when washing knives and dishes – particularly soapy, slippery glasses. Serious tendon and nerve injuries can happen quickly while simply washing a thin wine glass by hand.”
Fortunately, most injuries are avoidable. And in cases where accidents happen, Dr. Donnelly has a few tips.
“Many hand injuries also occur during post-meal clean-up. Serious tendon and nerve injuries can happen quickly while simply washing a thin wine glass by hand.”Brandon P. Donnelly, MD
Use Proper Knife Etiquette
Never cut toward yourself. One slip of the knife can cause a horrific injury. Whether you are carving a turkey or cutting a mirliton, your free hand should always be placed opposite of the side you are carving toward. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch a slice of meat.
Holiday hand safety starts by keeping your cutting area well-lit and dry. Good lighting will help prevent an accidental cut of the finger. Making sure your cutting surface is dry will prevent ingredients from slipping while chopping.
Manage Your Meal Like the Pros
The traditional image of carving a turkey with a single carving knife is not the way kitchen professionals disassemble a bird. Consider using an electric knife to ease the carving of the turkey or ham. Use kitchen shears to tackle the job of cutting through joints and small bones.
Keep your knife handles dry. A wet handle can cause your hand to slip down onto the blade, resulting in a nasty cut. Also, make sure all of your cutting utensils are sharp. A properly sharpened knife will never need to be forced to cut, chop, carve or slice. A knife too dull to cut properly is still sharp enough to cause an injury.
Finally, just like a professional kitchen, always leave the meat, cake, and pie cutting to the adults. Children have not yet developed the dexterity skills necessary to safely handle sharp utensils.
“Just like a professional kitchen, always leave the meat, cake, and pie cutting to the adults. Children have not yet developed the dexterity skills necessary to safely handle sharp utensils. “Brandon P. Donnelly, MD
What to Do if There’s an Accident
Even professionals who carefully follow every holiday hand safety tip experience the occasional accident. Should you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop on its own by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
However, you should visit an emergency room or hand specialist if:
Practice Holiday Hand Safety!
Don’t let your Thanksgiving celebrations go fowl this year because of a hand injury. If you suspect you have seriously injured your hand, wrist, or elbow, schedule an appointment with Dr. Donnelly for an evaluation.
This site is not intended to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this website and links to other websites, Brandon P. Donnelly, MD provides general information for educational purposes only. The content provided in this website and links, is not a substitute for medical care or treatment. You should not use this information in place of a consultation or the advice of your healthcare provider. Brandon P. Donnelly, MD is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.