Kitchen Injuries by Magda Austin


Injuries in the kitchen can not only ruin a good meal, but they could be severe enough to send you into our clinic. Lacerations, burns, and falls are the most common accidents that can happen in the kitchen.  Even opening a can of tomatoes can prove to be hazardous if it’s not done properly.  The Washington Post recently featured an article about a woman needing two surgeries on her hand because she sliced through her tendons and nerves trying to open a can.  Preventative measures can help eliminate accidents.  Here are few simple tips to avoid unnecessary accidents:

  • If you have to defrost any of your food, make sure to do it ahead of time. Most lacerations occur when people attempt to cut frozen food.   
  • Be cautious while opening cans. Sharp edges on the top of the can will easily slice your hand.
  • Make sure to turn all the handles of your pots and pans inward while cooking on the stove.
  • Make sure to wear your oven mitts while taking hot dishes out of the oven to prevent burns.
  • Immediately clean any spills on the floor to prevent slips and falls.
  • Keep your children out of the kitchen while cooking.
  • Lock your cabinets containing products with chemicals if you have young children or pets.
  • Make sure all kitchen appliances are turned off before plugging them in.
  • Be organized and do not jam pack everything into your refrigerator, cabinet or pantry.  It is just a matter of time before a heavy item could fall out upon opening the door.
  • Do not use a chair with wheels or anything else unstable to reach a high shelf.  Get a stepladder.
  • Make sure to wear gloves while preparing spicy peppers to prevent skin burns or transferring pepper juice into the eyes.

If you cut yourself, immediately clean the wound with water or peroxide and put the pressure on it to stop bleeding. If your laceration is deep, you should see a physician.  A doctor can check for potential involvement of muscles, tendons, nerves, or blood vesicles and to place sutures for proper healing. Do not delay your trip to the doctor. The risk for infection increases with time and most physicians will not put sutures on if the laceration is older than 10 hours. Make sure to ask your doctor about a tetanus shot if your last one was over 10 years ago. Make sure to keep your wound dry and put on antibiotic ointment if ordered by your doctor. If you notice any redness, swelling, or if your skin gets warm around the wound, you should immediately come back to your doctor for reevaluation and possible antibiotic prescription.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.


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