How to Play with Fire and Not Cook Your Goose on Turkey Day

real-men-2016-fbWe know why you guys like the fall holiday season. Besides feasting and football, there are legitimate reasons to play with fire and knives. Fair enough. So here’s what you need to know to prevent and treat burns and cuts.

Last year, we told you that real men wear mitts to prevent burns (and burning down the house) while cooking Thanksgiving dinner — specifically, deep-fried turkey. But did you listen? Maybe some of you did. But from others we heard the all-too familiar, “Relax, we’ve done this a million times.” Famous last words if there ever were any.

So, okay, we won’t nag you about combustible turkeys again, even though Texas led the nation in deep-fried turkey fires eight years in a row. However, we’d like to remind you that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home injuries in Texas and that on Thanksgiving Day, the number of cooking fires is triple that of an average day.

Which makes this a great time for a quick refresher course on fire and burn safety. Ready? Here it is:

Top 5 rules of cooking fire safety:

Follow these hard and fast rules at all times and you’ll be on your way to a safe supper.

  1. Man your pan, man: never leave your cooking unattended
  2. Wear oven mitts and roll up long sleeves
  3. Keep small children and pets away from all flammable heat sources
  4. Grills, fire pits and yes — fryers — should be used outdoors only and away from flammable structures and trees
  5. Keep pot lids close by to smother flames and have at least one fire extinguisher in your home and know how to use it

Sometimes you’re doing everything right and disaster still strikes. That’s what happened to Prestonwood Baptist Church Pastor Chris Kouba, who was engulfed in the flames of a grease fire while cooking on his stovetop. Thankfully, Prosper EMS took him straight to Medical City Plano’s Burn & Reconstructive Center, which offers advanced burn care to patients from Texas and surrounding states.

If you are involved in a fire:

  • Don’t panic
  • Remove yourself from whatever is burning; stop, drop and roll
  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand; if hot, don’t open
  • Stay low to the ground and follow your escape plan
  • Call 911 and seek treatment for burns

Matthew Carrick, MD, trauma medical director at Medical City Plano, explains what to do in a burn emergency.

Put that down, you’ll cut yourself.

In addition to burn injuries, many people accidentally cut themselves over the Thanksgiving holiday. Know how we know? We asked Tim Hartman, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Medical City ER Stonebridge.

“Last year, we saw a lot of cuts in the ER,” said Dr. Hartman. “The first 6 patients we had on Thanksgiving were all hand lacerations, ranging from a fellow with a hunting knife working on a deer to mothers working on turkeys in the kitchen and opening cans.”

Dr. Hartman says people are often unsure how to tell when a cut is severe enough to go to their local emergency room.

“First of all, if the wound is dirty, such as from a hunting knife, you’re probably going to want to go to the ER and let us wash it out thoroughly,” Dr. Hartman said. “Secondly, if you’re not able to stop the bleeding at home, you need to come in to the ER.”

Watch Dr. Hartman’s video for these tips and more, including when it’s a good idea to use tissue glue on your kids’ cuts and when it’s not.

Safe knife handling tips.

Most cooking lacerations can be avoided by following these cutting safety tips:

  • Always use the correct knife (size and blade) and a cutting board
  • Use sharp knives; dull blades cause more accidents
  • Pay attention to what you’re doing; don’t multitask
  • Don’t attempt to catch a falling knife
  • Don’t leave knives in the sink; wash them immediately and put them away

BurnInfographicFINALWe wish you and your family a very safe and happy Thanksgiving, but if famous last words leave you in need of expert emergency care, one of our many Medical City Healthcate emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Visit FastERTX.com to find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.

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