Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely

Thanksgiving can be a wonderfully busy time when friends and family gather to celebrate the season. Yet the same busyness can be a recipe for an unexpected trip to the Urgent Care. Burns and cuts are the most common reasons Michigan Urgent Care sees patients on Thanksgiving Day. Planning ahead and following a few simple steps can help keep the celebration going as planned.

BURNS & CUTS

Make your kitchen a children-free zone. Burns and cuts in children often occur when little hands try to sneak a taste as food is still cooking, or reach onto countertops where knives might be placed. Set up a play area with a healthy snack station, like fresh cut fruits and vegetables, to keep children from being tempted to enter the kitchen.

For adults, planning ahead is the best prevention. Burns are often caused when hot surfaces are accidentally touched. Severe burns are caused by cooking flare-ups and fires.

If you plan to fry a turkey, be sure to thoroughly defrost the bird in the refrigerator. Any amount of moisture or ice crystals produces steam when it hits the hot oil. The steam and water displaces the oil out of the fryer, which will quickly ignite when it come in contact with the burner.

For grease flare-ups while cooking or frying, cover the pan if you are able. Never throw water on a grease fire. Dump baking soda on the pan, and use a fire extinguisher for larger fires.

Cuts are common when rushing through meal preparation. Be sure to always use a cutting board, cutting away from the body, and never cut food in your hand.

HOME TREATMENT

Burns

Run cool water over minor burns. First degree burns (redness, swelling and pain) and second degree burns(redness, blisters, severe pain) can be treated at home by running cool water (not cold) over the affected area for at least 10 minutes, and loosely wrapping the burn in sterile gauze. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help reduce the pain. Never use butter, egg, ointment or ice on the burn as these will cause more damage to the skin.

Cuts

Stop the bleeding by applying a clean cloth or bandage over the cut and applying pressure. Don’t peek! It may take upwards of 30 minutes for the bleeding to stop. Peeking at the cut will disturb the clotting process and reopen the cut.

Clean the wound by rinsing the area under cool water. Soap is not needed as it may irritate the cut. Place an antibiotic cream like Neosporin or Polysporin on the area.

Cover the wound with a bandage or sterile gauze. Change the bandage as needed to keep the area clean and dry.

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION

Burns

Seek medical attention when minor burns are larger than three inches, or if on the face, hands, buttocks or groin. These types of burns can be treated in an urgent care setting. Third degree burns (black, charred skin), especially those over a large area of the body, require emergency treatment.

Cuts

If the cut is 1/4 inch or more deep, has jagged edges, or fat, muscle or bone is visible, seek medical attention. Keep a clean cloth and pressure applied, and raise the area. Change the cloth if it becomes saturated with blood.

With a little planning and extra time for preparation, your Thanksgiving celebration should go as planned. Happy Thanksgiving.

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