Turkey Carving Safety

Posted on 05-24-2024 in Hand, Finger & Injury Prevention by Dr. Steven Kronlage, Dr. James Piorkowski, Dr. Alex Coleman

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 46 million turkeys will be consumed on Thanksgiving. While the centerpiece of tomorrow’s holiday celebration makes for a delicious meal along with standard accompaniments such as stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy, it must be safely served. According to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, too many people severely cut their hands while carving a turkey, and as the American Society of Hand Therapists points out, it’s one of the top five most common Thanksgiving injuries.

To assist with a safe holiday celebration, our hand and upper extremity subspecialists would like to share a few tips for a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day feast:

  • Prepare your workspace. In addition to keeping your workspace dry to avoid slipping, cutting boards should be stable and level on the countertop. The area where you will be carving the turkey should also be well-lit so you can see what you are doing.
  • Keep all cutting utensils sharp and dry. A sharp knife will avoid using a lot of force when cutting, which can be dangerous. Dull blades are more likely to cause slips and are still sharp enough to cause an injury. Knives should also be kept dry to minimize the risk of slipping from your hand.
  • Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving toward. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat.
  • Use the right tools for the job. If possible, use an electric knife and a keep a pair of kitchen shears nearby to tackle the job of cutting bones.
  • Avoid little hands trying to help. Children should not be allowed to assist with carving, cutting or chopping. Provide them with safer tasks that don’t require sharp objects or heat if you want them to “assist” in the kitchen.
  • Know when to seek medical attention. If you sustain a minor cut to your finger or hand, bleeding will often stop by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth for 15 minutes. However, if it continues to bleed and you are unsure of your tetanus immunization status and/or you cannot thoroughly cleanse the wound by rinsing with a mild soap and plenty of clean water, you should seek immediate medical assistance.

If you’ve cut yourself and after a few days, numbness or tingling in the fingertip persists, or you have difficulty moving or bending your fingers, reach out to one of our fellowship-trained physicians. Simply complete our online Appointment Request form to book a visit or call us at 850.807.4200. Dr. Alex ColemanDr. Steven Kronlage and Dr. James Piorkowski provide the latest treatment options for the hand and upper extremities, including surgical intervention. Our offices have the latest imaging and diagnostic equipment, which minimizes the need for separate visits to other facilities and reduces out-of-pocket costs.

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