Cooking this holiday season? Of course you are! The holidays are about two things, food and family. However, some of the most common kitchen injuries can leave you spending more time in the emergency room than around the table. Here is a list of the most common minor cooking accidents, how to treat them and when you should see a doctor or a dermatologist.
The holiday seasons are ripe with major and minor burns. The danger zones? Frying the turkey, boiling the macaroni and pulling the sweet potato casserole out of the oven, among many others. Whether the burn came from bumping over or touching a burning pan, it is important to treat the burn promptly and correctly. First, you need to determine the degree of the burn. Depending on how bad the burn is, you may have to seek medical treatment immediately:
- First Degree Burn: Mild burn; results in pain and redness.
- Second Degree Burn: More severe burn; damages the lower layer of the skin. A second degree burn may result in redness, swelling, blistering and pain.
- Third Degree Burn: Most serious burn, affects all layers of skin and possibly deeper. May result in serious pain, blackened or charred skin.
The most common cooking accidents are mostly contained to first degree burns. First degree burns are also the only burn you should treat without the help of a medical professional. Although your initial instinct may be to run the burn under cold water, this traps the heat in your skin and makes the burn heal much slower. What you should do is apply a burn cream or anti-inflammatory, like aloe vera or antibiotic ointment. You can take any acetaminophen such as Tylenol to help with pain management. Be sure to regularly change out bandages and reapply creams to keep the burn sanitized.
For second and third degree burns, be sure to visit your doctor or dermatologist to receive correct burn treatment.
As careful as you are during cooking, it’s easy to get a cut or accidentally slice your finger. Accidents happen, but it’s best to be prepared for when they do. Remember, only treat cuts yourself if they are minor flesh wounds. If you are unable to control the bleeding, visit the emergency room immediately.
If, however, you have a minor flesh wound there are three simple steps to keep in mind as you treat the cut.
- Clean the cut. You can clean out your cut by flushing it with a bit of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, followed by antibacterial soap and water.
- Apply an antibacterial ointment like Neosporin. This will help the cut heal more quickly.
- Bandage cut tightly. This will allow you to keep cooking and to protect the wound from infection.
If you cut yourself too deeply and needed to take a trip to the emergency room for stitches or other wound treatment, you may develop a scar. Scar treatment looks different for everybody and is dependent on the severity of the wound. If you have scarring from a cut, a dermatologist can help you develop a treatment plan to lessen its appearance.
Eye irritation can occur during cooking, especially while preparing spicy foods or handling peppers. It is best to keep your hands away from the face during cooking and keeping them clean to avoid mishaps like eye irritation. If a bit of spice or pepper does reach your eye, causing a burning sensation, don’t panic. Most importantly, do not rub your eye. This will most likely cause more of the irritant to reach your eye, which will cause more pain. Secondly, go directly to the sink. Open your eye and begin to flush water into it. Do this until the irritant has been washed from your eye. You may experience redness after an episode like this. Using eye drops for eye irritation is okay, but the redness will recede naturally as well.
Accidents happen, so be prepared! If a more serious accident occurs, always seek medical help for correct treatment. If you have a cut or burn that leaves scarring, there are many ways to treat this. The experienced dermatologists at Knoxville Dermatology Group are ready to help you develop a treatment plan to reduce the appearance of scars and pigment irregularities. If you have a scar from a burn or cut and need help leaving it in the past, make an appointment, visit our website or call us at (865) 690-9467.