Take Care

Seasonal Hand Injuries

Holiday DecoratingStudies show that many people visit the emergency department with cut hands from carving turkeys or fixing snowblowers. Winter weather can add to the danger: When you slip on ice or fall while ice skating, skiing, or ice hockey, your natural tendency is to extend an arm to break your fall, which can fracture the fragile bones in your hands and wrists. This type of injury is so common that emergency physicians have an acronym for it: FOOSH — fall on outstretched hand.

Here’s a look at the most common mistakes that send people to the ER with hand injuries in the fall and winter, and how to prevent them.

CLIMBING LADDERS FOR HOLIDAY DECORATING
  • To reach the roof, extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the edge of the roof.
  • Ensure that the ladder is on secure and level ground before climbing.
  • Stay centered between the rails of the ladder. Do not overreach.
  • Do not stand on the top two rungs of the ladder.
BREAKING A FALL WITH AN OUTSTRETCHED HAND
  • Use both hands to help catch yourself so your body weight will be more evenly distributed. You’re less likely to break a bone.
  • Wear protective gear, like helmets and wrist guards, when engaging in sports.
  • Learn fall techniques. For example, cushion your fall by tucking your arms against your chest.
Seasonal Hand InjuriesCARVING TURKEYS
  • Never cut toward yourself. One slip of the knife can cause a horrific injury.
  • Don’t place your hand under the blade to catch the slice of meat. Use a carving fork to stabilize the meat, and keep your hand away from the knife.
  • Keep all cutting utensils sharp. Using force increases the chances of slippage and injury.
  • Use an electric knife to carve a turkey or ham.
  • Use kitchen shears to cut bones and joints.
  • Be careful when cleaning up, and separate the knives from other utensils. Don’t just leave the knives in the sink.
DEALING WITH A JAMMED SNOWBLOWER
  • Turn the snowblower off.
  • Never put your hand down the chute.
  • Wait five seconds after shutting off the machine to allow the blade to stop rotating.
  • Because the blades might still rotate after you’ve turned off the power, use a stick or broom handle to clear impacted snow. Never use your hand.
  • Keep all shields in place. Do not remove safety devices on the machine.
  • Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
OChristmas Ornaments For WebVERLOOKING THE RISKS FOR BUSY LITTLE HANDS  
  • Buy nonsharp serrated cutting utensils for kids so they can help with cuttin their own meat without getting hurt.
  • Don’t let children younger than 5 handle glass Christmas tree ornaments, which can break and cut their hands. Get plastic childproof ornaments instead. 
 

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