Avoiding kitchen mishaps over the holidays

December 19, 2012

A South Jersey hand surgeon has some common sense advice for avoiding injuries.

Dr. Elliott Ames says the mishaps start to rise just before Thanksgiving, as home entertaining picks up.

Hurrying or being distracted contributes to accidents.

And the tendons and nerves of the hand are particularly vulnerable, because they are so close to the surface.

Dr. Ames says a common one happens when someone tries to separate frozen foods with a knife without thawing them first.

"The knife will slip off the meat, and penetrate the hand, causing a very significant hand injury," he told Action News.

If you're slicing or chopping, never cut towards your hands. Always cut away from them.

And after the meal, beware of some common cleanup mistakes.

"Try to avoid putting the hand inside the glass," said Dr. Ames. "If it breaks, it'll cut through the hand like butter."

The doctor says other patients get cut by shattered glass when they reach for a glass that's falling. If one slips out of your hand, let it go.

And when you are loading the dishwasher, always put knives and sharp objects with blades and points down.

"If the knife is sticking up and there are a lot of utensils around, you're not going to see it," said Dr. Ames.

One frequent holiday injury OUTSIDE the kitchen comes from what's called "wrap rage." It comes from opening clamshell plastic packages.

Don't pry them open with your hands. Use knives or other sharp, pointed instruments to cut into the package instead.

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