FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Nov 1, 2006

Contact:
Jennifer Gremmels
ASSH
847-384-1437
jgremmels@assh.org

 
Holiday Hand Safety 101: Hand Surgeons Offer Tips for a Safe Carving Season

 

Rosemont, Ill. -Nothing says “Thanksgiving” like football, family and the enticing aromas of turkey, stuffing, yams and pumpkin pie. But no matter what’s included in a Thanksgiving spread, one dish nobody anticipates is a hand injury. This holiday season, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand cautions carvers to take steps to carve the main course and not their own hands.

Every year during Thanksgiving, and throughout the holiday season, people sustain hand injuries while preparing their holiday feast. From cutting open pumpkins to carving the mouthwatering centerpiece, hand injuries are all too common. Fortunately, these injuries are avoidable.

According to Reid Abrams, MD, a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, holiday hand injuries are not exclusively linked to carving turkeys, hams, and roasts. “Many hand injuries also occur during post-meal clean-up,” says Dr. Abrams. “Care needs to be taken when washing dishes—particularly soap-covered, slippery glasses. I’ve also treated many tendon and nerve injuries that were caused by crystal breaking while washing glasses by hand.”

Don’t let your turkey day celebrations go fowl this year because of a hand injury. Follow these easy tips and get your bird on the table in time so guests can start gobbling.

• Never cut towards yourself. One slip of the knife can cause a horrific injury.  While carving a turkey or cutting a pumpkin your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving towards. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat
• Keep your cutting area well-lit and dry. Good lighting will help prevent an accidental cut of the finger and making sure your cutting surface is dry will prevent ingredients from slipping while chopping
• Keep your knife handles dry. A wet handle can prove slippery and cause your hand to slip down onto the blade resulting in a nasty cut
• Keep all cutting utensils sharp. A sharp knife will never need to be forced to cut, chop, carve or slice. A knife too dull to cut properly is still sharp enough to cause an injury
• Use an electric knife to ease the carving of the turkey or ham
• Use kitchen sheers to tackle the job of cutting bones and joints
• Leave meat and pumpkin carving to the adults. Children have not yet developed the dexterity skills necessary to safely handle sharp utensils
• Lastly, should you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop on their own by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. Visit an emergency room or a hand surgeon if: continuous pressure does not stop the bleeding after 15 minutes; you notice persistent numbness or tingling in the fingertip; you are unsure of your tetanus immunization status or you are unable to thoroughly cleanse the wound by rinsing with a mild soap and plenty of clean water.

About Hand Surgeons
Hand surgeons have received specialized additional training in the treatment of hand problems in addition to their board certified specialty training in orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, or general surgery. To become members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, hand surgeons must have completed a full year of such additional training and must pass a rigorous certifying examination. Many hand surgeons also have expertise with problems of the elbow, arm, and shoulder. Some hand surgeons treat only children, some treat only adults, and some treat both. Common problems treated include carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, wrist pain, sports injuries of the hand and wrist, fractures of the hand, wrist, and forearm, and trigger fingers. Other problems treated by hand surgeons include arthritis, nerve and tendon injuries, and congenital limb differences (birth defects). Not all problems treated by a hand surgeon need surgery. Hand surgeons often recommend non-surgical treatments, such as medication, splints, therapy, and injections. Hand surgeons are specialists devoted to hand care.

About the ASSH
The mission of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) is to advance the science and practice of hand surgery through education, research and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners. Founded in 1946, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand is the oldest medical specialty society in the United States devoted entirely to continuing medical education related to hand surgery.

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