Thanksgiving in the ER

Not all Thanksgiving emergencies involve lumpy gravy. Sadly some people’s holidays are interrupted with impromptu trips to the hospital. In many cases the unwanted hospital visits can be avoided with a little planning and taking time to remember to be careful. Consider the kinds of injuries that people tend to suffer around Thanksgiving and ways that they can be avoided.

Kitchen Pains- You know you will be cooking, so be careful in the kitchen.

  • Cuts- Even the members of the family who tend to microwave their meals might be helping cook the family feast. Often they are assigned prep work which means cutting up various items. Inexperienced knife handlers can easily cut themselves in the kitchen.
    • How to Avoid Cuts
      • Don’t let children handle knives
      • Hold the knife properly, at the top of the handle, to have maximum control
      • Sharpen your knives: many cuts come about due to cooks working too hard with unsharpened knives.
      • Pay attention while you are cutting; do not look away or work on multiple tasks at once
  • Burns- Stoves, ovens, fryers and even pots and pans all get very hot during use. It is far too easy to burn yourself while cooking several items at once, as you will probably be doing on Thanksgiving.
    • How to Avoid Burns
      • Turn handles to pots and pans inwards while on the stove, so children can’t reach them and adults won’t accidently “rearrange” them while moving in the kitchen.
      • Use hot pads and heat gloves to move pots and pans.
      • Do not drop food into hot oil from far distances, and be careful with fried turkeys. Oil can splash back and severely burn a cook or even start a grease fire.
  • Food Bourne Illness- Failure to cook meats properly and cross contamination sends people to the ER year round.
    • How to Avoid Food Bourne Illness
      • Cook meats to their proper internal temperature and verify it with a meat thermometer.
        • Turkey (and stuffing if you choose) needs to be at least 165°.
        • Pork roasts and Ham need to be at least 140°, but you are better off to aim for 160°.
        • Red meat (beef, lamb, etc.) needs to be at least 120° to be rare. Ground meats need to be at least 160°.
      • Make sure all cooking areas are disinfected. Do not cut meats and other foods on the same surfaces. Also refrigerate all of your food until it is ready to be prepared, cooked or eaten.

Car Trouble- Holidays often mean a lot of travel. Be safe on the roadways this year

  • Child Restraints- Children need safety seats. Ensure that your children are in the right seat for their size and age.
    • Up to 22 pounds or about 1 year- These children need to be in a rear-facing car seat that is strapped in properly.
    • Up to 40 Pounds- These children should still be in a child safety seat, but theirs can be forward facing. Once again read the instructions and make sure the seat is secured properly.
    • Children under 12 years old- These children must sit in the back seat. Airbags and the dynamics of a front seat do not accommodate children during an automobile accident. The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that sitting in the back seat can reduce the risk of injury for a child, fatal injury or otherwise, by as much as 30%. If your child is too big for a safety seat but still too small for the seat belt in the car, you should seat them in a booster seat that is properly secured in the back seat.
  • Watch the Road- The holidays can be stressful and exciting all at the same time. It can be easy to take your mind off of the road for a moment, which is just long enough to cause a traffic accident.
  • Decide on a DD- For many people Thanksgiving means drinking with family and friends. While we never want you to drink irresponsibly or in large quantities, make sure that a designated driver is selected before the first beer or eggnog is poured.

From our family to yours, we hope that your Thanksgiving is an enjoyable and relaxing day with family and friends. If an emergency does arise, our Emergency Department will be available to provide care to family and friends in Hudson, Trinity, Holiday and the entire Nature Coast area.



Centers for Disease Control

Meat, Fish and Seafood Temperature Cooking Chart

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Choose an Emergency Room Before You Need to Visit

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  1. Pingback: Eliminating Burn Hazards at Home | Regional Medical Center – Bayonet Point

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