Kitchen Injuries And Precautions Against Same

johnliu_gwAugust 10, 2012

I am interested in your experiences with kitchen injuries, and what preparations and precautions you take.

We keep bandages and Neosporin at hand, a few steps from the sink. A burn kit with burn gel hangs near the range. I've learned to wear an apron while deep frying. Pot handles are turned in. The kitchen also has a fire extinguisher. Contemplated addition - a mesh "cut glove".

My usual injury is an annual cut of my left index fingertip. I do know how to curl my fingers and thumb, but seems like once a year I blow it. I've learned not to inspect these cuts, as they usually look pretty gruesome. Just run straight to the box of bandages, unpeel a large fingertip bandage, wrap the bleeding finger tightly in the bandage and then in clear scotch tape to contain the blood soaking through the cloth bandage. Wipe up the blood trail on the floor. Resume prepping. Dinner has to get made, after all.

There is also the occasional minor burn. Forearm on a pot lip, hot oil splatters, etc. I'm careful with turning handles in, draining hot pasta water, and so on, so no meaningful burns so far.

Also the infrequent freak injury. Until I learned how to shuck oysters, I used to stab myself now and again. Hot pepper oil to the eye, nothing like mace'ing yourself with guests due in 20 minutes.

But never any significant injury in my kitchen. Thank goodness.

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Sharp knives....and the wisdom to know that if I attempt to hit a giant squash with a cleaver...I will cut my I ask for help.
I don't carry huge pots of boiling stuff, I use a 2 cup measure and bail it out.
And remember a "sized" latex or plastic procedure glove puts pressure on a cut AND contains the blood!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:20PM
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The biggest preventative I have is an induction cooktop. We've had this for about 2 months. I used to burn myself regularly on the grates of gas cooktops or set potholders on fire. Pots and handles aren't as hot as over gas.

Another vote for sharp knives. Blunt knives are the worst tools to use. I've had an occasional nick but nothing bad. I keep a tube of neosporin in a kitchen drawer. Anything heavy or requiring brute strength is left to DH. I don't think I've ever scalded myself. I have an occasional puffy eye if I touch it after handling hot chiles. And I've had little hot oil spatters but nothing that needed more than cold water over it.

We keep a small fire extinguisher under the sink, but have never had to use it in the kitchen, thank goodness. We once had our Weber charcoal grill blow over, setting the wood deck alight. DH grabbed the extinguisher and sprayed the heck out of the fire. We've made sure to keep it handy ever since.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Sharp knives not dull, and just a lot of common sense have prevented anything serious here from happening in several decades. If I do experience minor burns (and I do), it's likely going to be moving or removing something in the oven, I do admit to getting in a hurry there and grabbing a dish towel as a hot pad more often than I should.

I have spatter screens for frying. I've had the mesh fillet gloves forever, I wouldn't cut up fish without them - not only do they protect you from the knife but they allow you to get a good secure grip on a slippery fish. They go right into the washing machine and come out clean and ready to put away again.

I think about the worst kitchen injury I've witnessed was a hand cut when hand washing wine glasses, my SIL at her weekend house. Sunday evening and an hour from the nearest hospital - Nothing open but gas station type convenience stores in the beach front community, and the cosmetic surgeon who had been a guest next door had just left to go back to the city. A dentist two properties away superglued and dressed her hand :) I bought a supply of steri-strips for deep wound closures and put those in my first aid kit, her first aid kit, the first aid kits of everyone I know after that....

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I never fry bacon while naked.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 4:45PM
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I'm pretty cautious while cooking and cutting(too many stupid accidents when young), but I regularly bump my hand against an oven rack or hot pan(cuss, cuss, runs to the freezer for ice). Nothing really bad, but usually takes a few days to heal.
I keep telling myself I'm going to sew some potholders into tubes for my cast iron skillet handle, but it hasn't happened yet. My hands are too small for mitts.
I used to get spattered with bacon grease, but have learned to be patient and cook bacon low and slow.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 5:06PM
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The best thing we've done to prevent kitchen injuries is to purchase an induction range December 2011.

Always keep the knives sharp. We've also got good, thick, terry cloth hotpads from KA that are at least 20 years old. I'd get more but they don't sell the same quality anymore. Darn. The filet gloves are a necessity here because we catch/eat a lot of fish.

Fire extinguisher & first-aid kit are also in the kitchen. Both DH & I have been through the Coast Guard Auxiliary advanced first-aid training.

I've had a couple nasty steam burns over the years that required medical attention but I've avoided serious cuts, thankfully. Still, we have lots of bandages in the kitchen.

With a fire extinguisher it's important to have the correct type, realize the average extinguisher only contains about 10 seconds of extinguishing power, know that they require periodic maintenance (fire depts will do this for you if unsure how), make sure the dial is in the green, know how to use it (aim at the base of the fire - NOT the flames), and know when it's better to just clear the decks and get out the door.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I've never cut myself with a dull knife but then I don't slice tomatoes well either with one.
I bought a new knife recently and the first thing I did was slice off most of my thumb fingernail. It's growing out.

A wad of paper towel and a piece of tape is an excellent kitchen bandage that lets you keep going.

Burns, well, I have learned that when an oven proof frying pan comes out of the heat, to immediately wrap the handle in a dishcloth.

In Kitchen Confidential, Anthony B. talks about these things in a way I don't quite trust.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 5:37PM
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I rarely if ever have any injuries in the kitchen . For all of you that cut yourselves you need to keep super glue where you can reach it easily. It is WAY better than any other sort of bandage that you can apply. All chefs keep it in their kitchens . When applied liberally you then leave it till it falls of on its own. When it does the wound will be healed. It is perfect.

Baking soda for burns...make a paste with water and apply liberally or aloe plant. I also have a fire extinguisher but keep a large pot lid handy because it is quick and not messy and will effectively suffocate a grease fire that is not out of hand.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Rarely an injury here, but when it does happen (grease or boiling jam splatter usually), I go for the aloe. Have a plant on the kitchen window sill. Also a fire extinguisher less than one step from the stove.

My biggest help.....just slow down a bit. I tend to move fast, cook on higher heat than I should and underestimate the time I need to prep or prepare the food I plan to cook.

No one I know is going to starve to death if dinner is 15 minutes later!! Relax. Works for me anyway. more more than ONE glass of wine while doing knife work!


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 7:22PM
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The two most common kitchen injuries are cuts and burns. Other than one incident many years ago when my clothing caught on fire from a hot burner, I have had only minor injuries in the kitchen.

Good prevention for cuts is to buy a bagel guillotine or holder for slicing them, since that is a common one. I have taken knife skills classes at our local community college and they helped me learn better sharpening techniques and safer ways to slice or cut certain foods.

A pusher-puller to push in and pull out oven racks really is a help in preventing burns. I'm not sure what the official name of this gadget is but here's a pic of my wooden squirrel/rabbit one.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Am I the only one who has grated their knuckles on a box grater? Ouch.

Here's an odd one. I always wear a gold chain necklace with a diamond pendant. Sometimes when I open the over to check on whatever is in there, the necklace heats up and burns me when I stand up.

I also have grabbed hot things with a wet cloth. Damp towels conduct heat very well. Ouch, again.

I have a fire extinguisher nearby but it is so old I wonder if it works.

Good plan, Eileen.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:05PM
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beachlily z9a

Eileen, it is a grater pod from King Arthur's. Costs $13. It is wonderful and doesn't grab knuckles or necklaces (I hope).

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Ruthanna....I think that's a Pusha-me pulla-you....mine isn't so cute.
I also have a bagel slicer....probably saved me a lot of stitches!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Hot pepper in you eyes will not cause injury, just not very pleasant.

You will cut yourself and burn yourself, unavoidable.

There are a few others to consider:

1. Falling objects from high shelves, especially if you are in an earth quake zone.

2. Slipping on the floor.

3. Falling from stepping stool.

4. Noisy appliances (blender) causing cumulative hearing damage.

5. Exploding super heated water in a microwave oven.

6. Handheld vacuums. Very bad for your lungs because they do not have good filters.

7. I have seen someone bashed her nose running into a sliding door to the patio.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:44PM
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Number one is my Aga stove I get burnt wiping itoff.Steam burns,2.would be my slicer mandolin,yep came pretty close a few times but I love it When I make like subs,slicing onions ,pickles,shredded lettace, tomatoes thin etc makes a much better sub

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Superglue as a bandage - interesting.

Would you use it on a deep cut? Or just a surface cut?

The last cut I had, the blade went through the nail and nail bed, created a loose corner of finger with the corner of the nail, still attached at the tip of the finger. It was bleeding so much, I wonder if superglue would have adhered. I wrapped it tightly and didn't dare unwrap or look at it for 24 hours. To my surprise, the partly severed bit reattached itself after a couple of weeks, though I'm still missing the corner of the nail. The previous year, that corner of the finger was sliced clean off, that time it didn't reattach so it took a few months to grow back the missing bit.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:09AM
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For burns: no question about this one. I first heard about it on the People's Pharmacy, was confirmed that army medics use it and then heard about it from a nurse. Then I burned a finger so badly a blister rose immediately. So the cure--soy sauce. Yes, it's counter intuitive and no one knows why it works. But I soaked the burn a few minutes in a little soy sauce, the pain vanished and in a few hours there was no sign that a burn had ever happened.

Far better than anything else I've ever tried. I've used it twice now.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 6:10AM
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My most common Kitchen Injury is walking my head in the the corner of an open upper cabinet door. Precaution Against Same would be to close the doors. Easier said than done though. I've got this weird and annoying mental block - no matter how hard I try I can't consitently close them immediately after retrieving what I'm after.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:07AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I forgot about the dishwasher, banging my shin on it way too often.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:21AM
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I've done the dishwasher thing and it is especially painful because it hits you on the lower shin.

How about catching your pocket on a knob? If your pants don't rip, it kind of whirls you around, giving you whiplash.

I also have an upper cabinet over the DW. I open it to put away the glasses, etc and have whacked my head on the corner of the door numerous times. Cure is to scream bloody murder, rub it and fight the urge to rip the door right off the cab.

My cure for most kitchen injuries on my hands and arms is to curse, wave the appendage around and then put my mouth on it. It's almost instinctual, so I wonder if there is some magic curative power to saliva or to sucking on a wound like you're giving yourself a hickey.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Johnliu, I don't know enough medicine to know when it would be appropriate to glue a cut. The dentist felt confident using it in a clean hand wound that occurred in a clean environment (sink full of hot soapy water :)) and it did work but after using pressure for a significant amount of time to stop bleeding. After the bleeding had stopped, the wound edges would not stay together, fleshy cut was too deep for that - that's the signal usually that stitches or something comparable is needed to close the cut.

I could imagine circumstances where the glue could seal bacteria inside and that wouldn't be good.

Interestingly, another family member had a grandson fall on a decorative sailboat while visiting them just recently, suffered a freely bleeding cut just above the outer corner of his eye. The emergency room physician said "two pokes for anesthetic, 2 pokes X three for stitches, a 2 yr old who is already overtired and distressed, this won't be good. We're going to glue it ". The glue used looked like superglue and worked beautifully, and there was the added benefit of almost nothing in the way of a scar. The boys mother is a veterinarian (so with more medical background than most of us), she was thrilled with the considerate treatment and the outcome.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:51AM
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One of my first kitchen lessons was to use potholders while holding down the lid of a blender when making anything hot. Also- I finally got my husband to believe me that there was something wrong with one of the coils on our stove. I hadn't used it for over 6 months after a fire started out of nowhere, but it took him starting his own fire to believe me. Turns out the receptacle had burned out.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:39PM
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"My most common Kitchen Injury is walking my head in the the corner of an open upper cabinet door."

Oh my gosh! I've done this so many times! I don't know why I didn't remember(maybe brain damage from doing it?). But I also do it with closet doors.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:53PM
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One of the perqs about being short....

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:42PM
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The most common cause of injuries ANYWHERE, is being in
a hurry. Slow down. Close calls should be a wake-up
A lot of good advise has been given so far, but, as
has been aluded to by Eilene, (the one legged lady)...
fire extinguishers are rarely checked to see if they
still work. If it has been under your sink for 17
years, chances are it doesn't work. Please check
them periodically, (at least once a year).

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Long, long ago, I was cleaning up after having company. Too cheap to pour out my leftover wine, and needed to wash the wine glass, I put the wine in a coffee mug.

Back then, I was still using my silverplate serving pieces and I poured some Tarn-ex into a coffee mug. Yup, you guessed it! I was pretty intent on cleaning up and only after I took a swig, from the wrong mug, did I realize what I did. The ER staff looked it up and said 'no problem'! What a relief.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Reading this with interest because all of my injuries including the whiplash from pockets caught on knob have happened to others.....makes me feel less like a klutz. Thank you so much.
There is a product you can buy OTC called "New Skin Liquid Bandage". It is a first aid antiseptic liquid bandage used for cuts and scrapes. It forms a coating over the wound much like super glue and seals against water, dirt, etc. I also use it on my finger when quilting/sewing as a thimble. But I digress.....This stuff is great if you have not sliced off the complete end of your finger or need serious stitches. And I think it is the same kind of stuff used by doctors to "glue" a cut.
My best hard learned lesson is never to use a sharp knife on a small cutting board. It equals a cut every time. A cut that you can not use New Skin on, trust me on this.
Happy and Safe Cooking.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 6:42AM
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Nu-skin burns like bloody blazing hellfire and brimstone!

My best advice is, if it's falling, let it go. I know someone who really messed up her hand catching a falling hand held blender, my mother cut her self badly grabbing for a knife she knocked off the counter, and I knocked a glass to kingdom come trying to catch it before it instead of it smashing on the floor, it hit the wall and scattered glass in 3 rooms!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 10:43AM
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