Holiday baking
November 20, 2017 | by Christopher Hein MD

Take extra care to protect your hands

Hands are for holding through the holidays, or for making delicious meals, or for stringing lights on the tree and the house, so extra care should be taken to protect them. With so many activities going on during the holiday season, hand injuries can be quite common. Painful accidents involving burns and cuts often occur in the kitchen or around the dinner table.

And, the kitchen is not the only place where hand or wrist injuries are likely to occur. Lifting heavy suitcases or even unpacking boxes of holiday ornaments can lead to a mishap. In addition, if alcohol is a factor, almost any activity can become hazardous.

Practicing a few basic safety tips can help you avoid some of the most common injuries to the upper extremities:

  • Avoid alcohol or use in moderation while performing activities like decorating or handling kitchen utensils, especially knives.
  • Make sure to use proper technique when handling knives, and avoid using dull kitchen utensils for carving.
    • Do not cut toward yourself. Never place your hand in the path of the knife.
    • Make sure your cutting surface and surrounding area is dry and well lit.
    • Do not allow young children to carve, cut, or chop.
  • Avoid picking up the inevitable broken wine glass with your bare hands. Take the time to find the broom and dustpan.
  • Always use protective gloves when handling extremely hot objects. Remember, a wet oven glove may result in a steam burn if heated.
  • If you are using an outdoor fryer, wear protective gloves, as the oil tends to splatter, and always have a fire extinguisher rated for grease fires readily available.
  • Many hand injuries are a result of a fall. Wear proper footwear to help prevent falling on wet or icy surfaces.
  • Be very careful on ladders! Grasping at gutters when you lose your balance on a ladder can lead to tendon injuries, and of course, falling from a ladder can lead to serious injury or death.

Maintain a safety-first focus through the holidays to make sure you and your family enjoy the festivities accident-free. If you do have an injury, contact your doctor or seek urgent or emergency care as needed.