Fireworks are a fascinating and fun part of holiday celebrations throughout the country. Unfortunately, this popular tradition is also associated with injuries that are all too common among both adults and children. Each year, it is estimated that over 10,000 fireworks-related injuries occur in the United States and at least 40% of these injuries involve the arm, hand, and fingers.
Hand surgeon John M. Erickson, MD talks about common hand injuries around the house and how to prevent them.
“I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure” — Hippocratic Oath
The Hippocratic Oath is the pledge toward which all doctors aspire. Doctors try to cure disease and repair injuries. The passage from the oath above reminds us that, if at all possible, we should try to prevent illness and injury rather than only focusing on curing it after it has occurred.
Hand injuries while performing everyday activities — such as cooking, woodworking, exercising and lawnmowing — are too common. Many of these injuries can be prevented by adhering to simple, common sense guidelines.
Whether you’re using a gas or charcoal grill, there are always dangers involved in grilling outside. While grilling is fun (and produces great tasting food!) it’s essential that you protect your hands during the process. Don’t forget, your hands are the reason you CAN grill!
When deciding whether to grill, lighting your grill, gauging the heat and actually cooking food, follow these five tips for grilling safely outside:
It’s hard to imagine a Fourth of July holiday without fireworks. It’s an American tradition that’s both fun and exciting, but fireworks can be dangerous. Here’s why.
Fireworks can explode unexpectedly and can even go off in the wrong direction sometimes. It’s also hard to gauge exactly how large an explosion may be, especially with illegal fireworks. If a firework explodes in your hand, you could lose your hand completely.
Sometimes, you may come across a firework that is a “dud.” If this occurs, do not attempt to relight the firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes after the initial attempt, then place the firework in a bucket of water.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, nearly half of the U.S. population participated in some sort of outdoor activity in 2017. Among these activities, hiking and camping were reported to be among the most popular. As we are packing our backpacks and lacing up our hiking boots there are some tips we can remember to protect ourselves from injury.
Take a Hike
- Ensure that you have the proper footwear – hiking trails often consist of several different types of terrain that can cause falls if you are not prepared. It is important that you have hiking shoes or boots that have soles to help maintain your footing in slippery grass, rocks, mud, snow, or while crossing creeks. A fall could cause injuries to your hands and arms, like cuts, sprains, strains, or fractures.
- Take along trekking poles or a hiking stick – use of one of these can also help you maintain your balance, keep your footing, and prevent falls.
- Make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the season – hiking in the winter in particular can present some perils to your fingers. Frostbite is a serious threat when you let your hands become too cold, and can result in injury or even loss of all or part of a finger if severe enough. It is important to wear properly insulated gloves, and to carry a spare pair in case your hands get wet. Pocket hand warmers can also be helpful.
Turkey carving injuries are unfortunately common around Thanksgiving time. 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, which means a lot of carving! Carving isn’t something that most people do regularly, so be sure to read our safety tips below to avoid an injury this holiday season.
- Never cut toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you are carving toward.
- Don’t place your hand underneath the blade to catch the slice of meat. This is dangerous and unnecessary.
- Keep everything dry. This includes your knife handles, the cutting board and the cutting area. This will help you avoid slips.
- Only use a sharp knife. A dull knife will require the use of force to cut your turkey, which is dangerous and could cause slips. Your knife should be sharp enough as to not require any force when cutting the turkey. Use an electric knife if possible.
- Don’t use a knife to tackle the bones. Use kitchen shears in this situation. They cut bones more easily, and it’s less likely that your knife will slip.
One of the benefits of pet ownership is the opportunity to get outside and exercise. A recent survey estimated that over 60 million households in the United States have at least one dog, so it is safe to say that a large number of us are hooking up a leash to walk our furry friends. Improper leash handling can increase risk of injury, particularly to our hands and wrists.
What are some of those injuries?
As we learned in a prior post, a FOOSH is a “fall on an outstretched hand.” Hand surgeons and hand therapists frequently see patients who have lost their footing after tripping on the leash, on their dog, or while walking on uneven terrain. This may also occur when your dog suddenly jerks the leash causing you to fall. One of the most common injuries resulting from a FOOSH is a wrist fracture, which could require a cast or perhaps even surgery.