Halloween is right around the corner and that means many will soon
engage in a time-honored tradition pumpkin carving. Dr. Andrew Foret, board
certified hand and wrist specialist at Center for Orthopaedics, an affiliate of
Imperial Health, provides several safety tips for the Halloween season.
"Unfortunately, its common to see both adults and children with hand
and finger injuries some of them severe this time of year, says Dr. Foret.
"More serious injuries can often mean three to four months of treatment,
including surgery and rehabilitation.
Dr. Foret says injures during pumpkin carving can be avoided with the
right precautions. He shares these tips from the American Society for Surgery
of the Hand:
Carve in a Well-Lit, Dry Area
Although your jack-o-lantern may look the best when glowing eerily at
night, it needs to be carved in a clean,
dry, well-lit area. "Any moisture on your tools, hands or carving surface can
cause slipping that leads to injuries, warns Dr. Foret. "Wash and thoroughly
dry all of the tools youll be using including your hands.
Always Have Adult Supervision
While pumpkin carving can be great fun for children, Dr. Foret says
adult supervision and participation is key to preventing injuries. "An injury
can occur in a split second. Even if the carving seems to be going well, its
important not to leave children unattended with carving supplies.
Leave the Carving to Adults
Pumpkin carving can easily be turned into a fun activity for the whole
family. Its much safer for children to be responsible for drawing a pattern on
the pumpkin and helping to clean out the pulp and seeds and leave the cutting
for adults. "When adults do the cutting, they should cut away from themselves
and do so in small strokes, Dr. Foret continues.
Sharper is not Better
A sharper knife is not necessarily better, because it can
become wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it.
An injury can occur if your hand is in the wrong place when the knife finally
dislodges from the thick skin of the pumpkin. Injuries also occur when the
knife slips and comes out the other side of the pumpkin where your hand may be
holding it steady. "Pumpkin carving kits are easily found in local stores,
says Dr. Foret. "The best advice is to use these instead of your sharp kitchen
knives. The tools in these kits are not sharp enough to produce deep cuts.
If a cut does occur while carving, keep in mind that bleeding from a
minor cut should stop on its own within a relatively short amount of time. "Use
a clean cloth and put direct pressure on the wound, Dr. Foret advises. "If
bleeding persists after 15 minutes, you should seek medical attention.
Dr. Foret is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS). He
joined Center for Orthopaedics in 2011. For more information on any hand or
wrist problem, or to schedule an appointment, call 337-721-7236.