CareNow® - November 19, 2021

The kitchen is typically one of the busiest rooms in the home — and that’s especially true during the holidays. While wonderful memories can be enjoyed here, it can also be the spot where common accidents occur if you don’t take the proper precautions.

With so many little ones running around during major gatherings amid sharp knives and hot surfaces, it’s no wonder thousands of people are injured in the kitchen every year.

To make sure your holidays aren’t spent at your local urgent care clinic, it’s important that you follow a few kitchen safety tips.

What to do if you get a burn in the kitchen

Burns and cuts make up the majority of the injuries that take place in the kitchen. Most burns are a result of grease popping up off a hot stovetop or boiling water spilling over.

The best way to avoid a burn completely is to keep flames low and stand far away from liquids that are hot. If possible, try to use a splatter screen to help minimize your chance of getting burned.

If you’ve fallen victim to a hot surface or boiling water, the best thing to do is place the burned area under cool tap water for a minimum of 15 seconds. This will help alleviate the pain.

If open blisters or wounds appear, you should cover the area with a clean dry cloth and then see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid infection.

If your burn is from hot grease or a stick substance (think caramelized sugar), it may be more severe and require immediate medical attention.

It’s important that you don’t put ice or butter on the burn before your doctor has a chance to evaluate it as these substances can actually cause damage to the skin tissue.

What to do if you cut yourself in the kitchen

Because the kitchen is where a lot of chopping takes place, it’s fitting that hands are the most common place to sustain a cut.

How you treat your cut is dependent on where on the hand you’re cut, with the tips of the fingers and top of the knuckles being less likely to sustain serious injury. However, cuts on the palms and fingers can result in deep cuts that have long-term effects.

If you’ve cut yourself, you should first determine how deep the cut is and where it occurred.

If it appears that the cut isn’t too deep and is not in an overly sensitive part of the hand (like the fingertips or knuckles), you should be able to treat the cut by washing it with an antibacterial cleanser followed by mild soap and water.

To avoid infection, always put antibacterial ointment on a clean bandage, then place it over the cut (making sure it doesn’t stick to the cut).

On the other hand, if your cut is more severe or bleeding heavily, you should apply pressure to the impacted area using gauze or a clean towel to stop the bleeding. Try to get medical attention as soon as you can.

What to do if you injure your eye in the kitchen

Eye injuries don’t happen as often as a burn or a cut, but they are something to be aware of, especially if you’re something that regularly works around ingredients like peppers.

When you’re dealing with overly spicy foods, you run the risk of exposing your eye to capsaicin, an oil found in chili peppers that can easily be transferred to your eye with the swipe of the hand.

Not only can this cause irritation to your skin, but it can also result in infection. If your eye becomes irritated, it’s a good idea to go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room where you can have your eye examined.

Perhaps the best way to protect your eyes while in the kitchen is to wear safety glasses and gloves. If your eye does become irritated while you’re cooking, flushing it thoroughly with water can often help minor irritations.

What to do if you fall in the kitchen

Falling is another common injury that occurs in the kitchen. Many people require a step stool to reach the top shelf of their cabinet — which can easily lead to a fall. Others may accidentally slip over a spilled drink. Whatever the cause, the kitchen can be a hectic place where falls happen if you’re not careful.

If you hit your head during a fall and lose consciousness, you need to see a doctor immediately. If you have difficulty putting weight or the area where you feel or you notice it’s swelling quite a bit, you may also need a doctor to take a look.

Don’t wait for several days before seeing a doctor after a fall as you could end up with unnecessary issues as a result.

When in doubt, make an appointment to see a doctor anyway to ensure everything looks good and you won’t end up with a nagging side effect down the road.

How to prevent injuries in the kitchen

Spending time in the kitchen can be a great time, especially during major family events like the holidays, but it’s important to remain attentive to your surroundings.

If you’re new to cooking, it’s smart to take a cooking class so you know exactly what to be aware of and how to handle certain situations in the kitchen.

Always clean up after yourself so you don’t pave the way for unnecessary spills. Knives should always be put away after they’re used as well.

If you’ve been injured in the kitchen and believe you need medical attention, consider visiting your local CareNow® urgent care clinic.

With more than 100 locations throughout the U.S., we’re open after hours and on the weekend when your general physician is typically unavailable. You can count on us to provide the care you need when and where you need it most.

When you take advantage of your Web Check-In® feature, you can avoid the waiting room and wait from anywhere!

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.