How to Prevent Burns During the Holidays

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Here come the holidays – not to mention some of the accidents that come along with them.

Because people tend to spend more time in their kitchens this time of year, it’s not surprising that the number of kitchen-related accidents also dramatically increases. Burns are especially common during this time of year, particularly on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Follow these tips to help prevent burns or treat them if need be.

  1. Be aware. Increased activity in a kitchen – more meals being prepared and more people doing the cooking – can increase the probability of an injury.
  2. Establish a ‘kid-free zone’ around the stove of approximately three feet. This will help decrease the chance of burns from hot foods and liquids that can spill, splatter or spray.
  3. Keep an eye on the prize. Keep a careful watch on what you’re cooking to monitor for burning food or overflowing liquids.
  4. Use the back burner when possible and/or turn pot handles away from the stove's edge. Always use oven mitts or potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave ovens or stovetops.
  5. Make sure the turkey is the only thing getting fried. If you decide to fry a turkey, do so with the utmost of caution. Make sure you are in an open space and not in the confines of a house or garage. NEVER put a frozen turkey into hot oil and keep a close eye on the fryer while the turkey is cooking. NEVER leave it unattended.
  6. Keep things clean and tidy. Keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop. Make sure to keep the stovetop, burner and oven clean as well.
  7. Dress the part. Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

If you do suffer a burn, follow these recommendations for the acute care of the burn:

Cool the injury as soon as possible by running cool water over it or cover it with wet gauze or towels.

Remove any clothing or debris covering the burn.

Wash minor burn wounds using only mild soap and tap water.

Seek medical attention at an Urgent Care center if a blister forms. (Most of these burns are minor and do not need to be referred to a burn center.) If necessary, the clinic will give you a tetanus shot and will provide wound care, set up referrals write prescriptions if indicated.

Take over the counter pain treatments such as Tylenol (Acetaminophen) or Motrin (Ibuprofen) for pain relief from minor burns.

With the help of these tips, you can have a safe, injury-free holiday season!

Seeking medical attention for a minor burn? Visit one of our Ochsner Urgent Care centers

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