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How to Avoid Common Thanksgiving Injuries

How to Avoid Common Thanksgiving Injuries

While Thanksgiving is known as a day to reflect on what matters most in your life, if you’re not careful, it can also include a trip to the emergency room. The Ochsner Health Emergency Department shares these tips for avoiding common Thanksgiving injuries:


Cooking a Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work and preparation can last several hours. When you are trying to manage too many dishes at once, handling boiling hot pots and pans or removing a heavy turkey from the oven, burns are bound to happen. To prevent them, make sure to use oven mitts, avoid wearing loose clothing and keep pot handles away from the front edge of the stove. Above all, pay attention and move slowly. Too many cooks in the kitchen got you distracted? Tell them to go mingle with other guests in another room.

Home Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking accounts for 40 percent of home fires on Thanksgiving. Keep your home safe by paying attention when cooking and having a fire extinguisher on hand. If you’re deep frying a turkey, make sure your turkey is fully thawed before cooking and always deep fry outdoors.

Knife Injuries

You’ve spent hours cooking the perfect turkey—don’t let it be ruined by an inexperienced carver, or a dull knife. Take your time and make sure you give any task that requires knifework to someone who knows what they are doing. Keep your knives sharp for easy slicing and your cutting board secure, so there is no excess movement when working. Be sure to slice away from your palms and fingers and never look away while using a knife. If you drop a knife, don’t try to catch it, just let the knife fall to the floor. Lastly, make sure to keep all knives out of the reach of children.

Food Poisoning

You’ve overindulged on the big Thanksgiving meal and are ready for a nice nap, so you don’t bother putting the food away since you’re just going to eat again in a few hours. That’s a holiday recipe for food poisoning.

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to foodborne illness, the medical term for food poisoning:

  • Food not heated to proper temperatures
  • Poor air circulation from an overstuffed refrigerator
  • Leaving food out for several hours

Some safe food-handling tips include:

  • Refrigerate all food right away at the proper temperature, 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • Wash hands well with soap and warm water;
  • Clean and disinfect countertops, plates and utensils before and during preparation as you touch raw foods and
  • Keep ready-to-eat foods and raw fish, poultry, meats and eggs separate to avoid cross contamination

Alcohol consumption

As with any social gathering, drink responsibly. The holidays are a time to celebrate, but drinking excessively can lead to dangerous reactions from prescription medication to heightened emotional stress. Drinking in moderation means no more than one alcoholic drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.