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With the holidays less than a week away, you are likely running around like a mad person trying to finalize your plans. If you don’t find little Johnny’s PS5, he’s going to hate you forever. That Christmas roast is mocking you from the refrigerator and you still have a whole house to clean before your passive aggressive, Martha Stewart-in-law comes over. Unfortunately this is when accidents can and do happen. But with a little first aid knowledge, these accidents don’t have to ruin your holiday. Below are some common accidents that occur in the kitchen and what to do about them.
Note: Having a first aid kit in your home is essential, and will save you precious time in finding supplies to deal with any accident. Many are very affordable.
A common myth about knives is that a duller knife is safer. The truth is with a duller knife, you have to use more force to cut through something. This added pressure can lead to slips, and ultimately, cutting a finger instead of your carrot. A dull knife has more potential to be clumsy.
A sharp knife uses it’s sharp edge to glide though the thing you’re are slicing with minimal force and less potential for accidents. A cut from a sharp knife also heals faster. A cut from a dull knife can be jagged and wide, but a cut from a sharp knife, while it may be deeper, is usually thin and perfectly straight which allows the tissues to come together and heal faster.
So what do you do if you get cut:
Apply pressure to the wound
The first thing you want to do is stop the bleeding. While bleeding actually helps to clean the cut and flush out any tiny foreign objects and bacteria, you want to control the bleeding as soon as possible. Grab a clean cloth or gauze and apply pressure to the wound site. If the cloth or gauze gets saturated with blood, apply a clean one. NOTE: If the bleeding is severe or your wound does not stop bleeding within 5 to 20 minutes, seek professional medical help.
Rinse the cut out
Once the bleeding is under control, rinse out the cut under running water. This will flush out any bacteria that is left in the wound. Soap up the area around the cut to clean it of bacteria as well.
Apply a Band Aid or gauze and tape
If you don’t have large enough Band Aids, a gauze pad will work. Fix the gauze to the wound with surgical tape. Feel free to apply an antibiotic ointment or cream to the wound. Having a first aid kit in the kitchen can mean the difference between a manageable cut and loosing a finger.
Be sure to change your bandages if they become wet or dirty and keep alert for signs of infection. Signs of infection include an increase in pain to the area, redness that has spread or forms a red streak, swelling, fluid or puss oozing from the area, or fever.
There’s going to be lots of stuff going on in your kitchen when you are cooking for the holidays. You may have all four burners going and the oven. And all are very hot. Whether you are reaching across the stove or sticking your hand in the oven to check that roast, burns are bound to happen.
To help prevent burns in the kitchen, turn all your pot handles towards the back of the stove and keep children out of the cooking area. Use oven mitts, even if you are checking the meat temperature or basting.
First, it is important to recognize that there are 3 different types of burns, 1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree, and to determine which one you may have.
1st degree burns: This is when just the top layer of skin gets burned. It will be red and painful and turn white if you press on it. This is similar to a sunburn and is the least dangerous of the three.
2nd degree burns: These burns are a little more serious and involve deeper layers of the skin. It will have all the characteristics of the 1st degree burn but may blister and swell.
3rd degree burns: These are the most severe of burns. It is when all the layers of your skin is burned. The area may be white or charred looking and it might not actually hurt. This is because the nerves have been burned as well. THESE BURNS REQUIRE IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.
Therefore, this post will only include first aid procedures for 1st and 2nd degree burns.
If you do get burned, here’s what you can do:
Remove any clothing or jewelry near or on the burn
Do this for jewelry immediately as the area may swell fast, making it difficult to take off jewelry afterwards. If your clothing sticks to the burn area, do not remove it.
Run under or soak in cool or lukewarm water
DO NOT use ice or ice water on the burn. This may be counterintuitive, but the ice water can actually damage the skin more.
Soak or run water on the area for at least 5 minutes. Do this for 20 to 30 minutes for 2nd degree burns.
Apply Aloe Vera or cream and cover burn area
Aloe Vera has been used for centuries and is know as the “burn plant.” Most of your sunburn lotions contain Aloe Vera. It soothes the skin and also has anti-inflammatory properties and inhibits the growth of bacteria. If you do not have access to Aloe Vera, you can use an antibiotic ointment. Many first aid kits have topical treatments for burns included in them.
Cover the burn with gauze. Be sure to check the wound each day for signs of infection, especially with 2nd degree burns. Signs of infection include increase in pain in the area, redness that has spread or forms a red streak, swelling, fluid or puss oozing from the area, a bad smell from the burn area or fever.
While the best way to avoid accidents is prevention and being mindful of your actions and surroundings, they will still happen. By following these basic first aid tips, a minor accident need not turn into a major one.