Most people agree that there are few things more enjoyable during Thanksgiving than the food, and we could agree with that. In past articles, we’ve discussed insurance claims that increase during the fall in addition to common summer injuries, so we’ll be taking a look at how you and your family can stay safe during Thanksgiving this year by (a) understanding common Thanksgiving injuries, both personal and general injuries (b) how to avoid them and (c) some safety tips and tricks to consider prior to your Thanksgiving holiday.
Common Injuries During Thanksgiving And How To Avoid Them
- Knife injuries are among the most common injuries occurring during Thanksgiving holidays. Please be careful not only when you carve the turkey but also during all the food preparation. Be cautious when using knives and other kitchen tools and appliances.
- Food poisoning is also extremely common on Thanksgiving day. If you are the one cooking the turkey, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, of the wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is cooked when all these spots have a temperature of 165 degrees and above. Properly cooking the turkey at 165 degrees kills all the harmful germs that might be present in the animal. Keep in mind that the CDC announced early this month that there was a major and widespread outbreak of multidrug-resistant salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products and live turkeys. 164 cases in 35 states were reported at the beginning of this month including 63 hospitalizations and 1 death. 12 cases were reported in New York.
- Emergency rooms are also visited by a higher number of patients suffering from burns on Thanksgiving day. Cooking fires spike on Thanksgiving as often cooks leaves the food unattended to rejoice with the rest of the family. Burns to hands related to handling the turkeys and the pots are also quite common. Use mitts and be extra cautious when handling this big bird.
Use a timer when using the stove or oven, keep all items that can burn or catch fire away from the cooking area, have a fire extinguisher handy, and always check the kitchen before leaving home or going to bed to make sure that all appliances and devices are turned off.
- Overindulging. Eating and drinking too much can cause a surge in epinephrine or nor-epinephrine, which triggers atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat) in a structurally normal heart. In the emergency room it is called holiday heart. Most people don’t know that hydration is often all you need to treat it but the best is to try to stick to healthy portions.
- Drinking too much which often happens on Thanksgiving can lead to all kinds of accidents. If you are taking other medications, please be aware that alcohol shouldn’t be mixed with other drugs. Also please make sure that people around you don’t drive after they have been drinking. Drunk driving accidents as well as traffic accidents do experience a peak during the holidays.
- National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) accident reports show that Thanksgiving Day is the most dangerous driving day of the year. Cold weather conditions that put snow and ice on the roads, speeding drivers, and drunk motorists cause thousands of fatal car accidents each year.
- Kitchen Fires and Burns: Thanksgiving is about sitting down to dinner with family and friends, so cooking is often the main focus. Preparing and cooking a huge turkey or ham, a variety of side dishes, and desserts often lead to grease fires in the kitchen and serious burns. When cooking on outdoor gas grills or deep frying a turkey, explosions, and fires often cause severe burns and deaths.
Do not wear loose clothing to avoid catching fire: Never leave the stove unattended (if you need to leave the kitchen, ask a family member to look after the stove or turn it off).
- Thanksgiving usually brings cold temperatures, freezing rains, and snow and ice. Streets and sidewalks are often covered in snow or ice, so slip-and-fall accidents commonly account for a variety of injuries including sprains, fractures and broken bones, back and neck injuries, and head trauma.
Additional Safety Tips And Tricks This Thanksgiving
Choose a designated driver. This is one of the tried and true methods of reaching your destination safely. If you plan on drinking, ask a sober friend or family member for a ride. If the drive is a bit long, offer to pitch in for gas. Most friends and family are happy to help, so go ahead and ask. Drunk driving is particularly more common the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, earning it the nickname “Black Wednesday,” so whatever you do, never drive while impaired.
Drive during the day: Most accidents tend to happen in the evening, so try to drive during the day instead. This will make it easier to see the road and other vehicles.
Be prepared with emergency supplies: Your car should always be stocked with an emergency kit that includes items like safety triangles or squares. In the event that your car breaks down or you are involved in an accident, having an emergency kit can be a major lifesaver and even help other drivers see you if you cannot move your car from the road.
Acknowledge the “move over” and “fast lane” laws: If there is a vehicle on the side of the road, slow down and move over, but never drive in the left lane unless you are attempting to pass traffic. This lane is generally reserved for faster-moving traffic and it is also not uncommon for drunk drivers to drift into this lane. The further to the right you are, the better off you will be.
Use public transportation: If your Thanksgiving get-together is near where you live, try opting for some form of public transportation to get there, such as a taxi or ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft. Doing so will force you to call for a ride home, which will come in handy if you were drinking and do not have a sober friend or family member to take you home.
Fly instead of drive: A road trip might sound like fun, but this will increase your chances of being in a crash. With so many people on the road traveling to their Thanksgiving destination, there is a strong likelihood that you could be involved in a terrible accident. If you can afford it, skip the long road trip and take buy a plane ticket or take a train.
How Do You Plan To Spend Your Thanksgiving Holiday This Year?
With turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the like, many people are so excited about the foods that they neglect important other factors such as health and safety. But if you know how to stay safe this holiday season, you might agree that the holidays, more specificially Thanksgiving, can be more enjoyable.
Being able to enjoy the holidays is more than just food, family, and friends. This Thanksgiving, be sure to be prepared for anything, from food-related injuries to accidents that could happen in a home or on the road.