In the United States, 88% of people eat turkey on Thanksgiving. That leaves a lot of room for hand injuries! For many, carving a turkey is something they do only once per year, and it’s not uncommon to accidentally cut yourself while carving a turkey or other meats. Unfortunately, carving injuries can be serious. Cuts from a knife can be so severe that it sometimes requires amputation. The surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand have provided these tips on how to carve a turkey safely:
- Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving towards. Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat.
- Keep everything dry. This includes your cutting area, hands and knife handle. Make sure your turkey is placed on a cutting board that does not slip or move around on the counter.
- Keep all cutting utensils sharp. If your knife is sharp enough, it should not need force in order to carve. The most dangerous knives are dull ones that need force to cut through something. This usually results in a more serious injury, because you’re pressing harder on the knife.
- If possible, use an electric knife for the carving. An electric knife will not require any force to cut the turkey. Be sure to use sharp kitchen shears (scissors) to cut the bones and joints of the turkey with ease.
- Do not let children assist with the carving, cutting or chopping.
If you’ve accidentally cut yourself, put pressure on the cut. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, visit the emergency room. Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday this year. Visit www.HandCare.org for more safety tips from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.