Be safe while you gobble.
The American College of Emergency Physicians has Thanksgiving safety tips.
“Emergency physicians are ready to care for you any time you need it,” said Rebecca Parker, president of ACEP. “We are available 24/7, including holidays. But, we hope that by following some common sense precautions, you will avoid preventable injuries and illnesses, so you can spend your holiday enjoying time with loved ones.”
Tips for food preparation safety
— The risk of bacterial contamination is high with any raw meat. Wash hands thoroughly when handling uncooked meat and keep it separate from other foods. Sanitize any surfaces that raw foods come in contact with. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that oven temperatures should be no lower than 325 degrees, and turkeys should be completely thawed before cooking. A food thermometer must register a safe minimum temperature of 165 degrees inside a turkey before it is served.
— It’s best to cook stuffing in a casserole dish outside the turkey, but if someone chooses to stuff a turkey, make sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of 165 degrees to ensure there is no bacterial contamination. Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours.
— People with food allergies who have not prepared their own meals at home should ask about the ingredients and how food was prepared to prevent exposure to allergens.
Tips for common injuries
— Be careful when slicing food and do not rush. More accidents occur when carving and cutting too quickly. If possible, allow someone who is experienced in handling sharp knives do the carving.
— Burns are another common injury during Thanksgiving. The kitchen can be dangerous around the oven and grill. Don’t rush when cooking dinner; have a plan of execution that leaves plenty of time to get it done.
— A note of caution is given for anyone who deep fries a turkey. This can be dangerous and cause burns and fires. Research the proper way to deep fry and use extreme caution. Frying a turkey should be done well clear of the home or any flammable structure. Also, never attempt to deep fry a frozen turkey.
Tips for driving safety
— Around 42 million people will drive somewhere for Thanksgiving, according to AAA. With more cars on the roads, more car crashes occur. Avoid injuries by driving carefully; don’t text and drive or talk on a cellphone and always wear a seatbelt and make sure younger children are properly strapped in and obey all traffic laws. It’s also important to be rested while driving.
Tips for eating safely:
— For those with medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease and high blood pressure, excess salt can be dangerous. Monitor sodium intake and make sure to take any necessary prescription medications. Consult a doctor if necessary. Eat food slowly, and when satisfied take a break and allow the body to process it. Eating too quickly can cause heartburn, indigestion and may create chest pain, which could require medical assessment.
Tips for injury prevention
— Before or after the meal, it’s common for many to head outside and play sports. Injuries can occur for those not used to routine exercise. If there is a must to play a traditional Thanksgiving game, emergency physicians recommend going easy — not overdoing it. Participants should pace themselves after a big meal, and for those not used to regular physical activity, they might want to reconsider and participate in a different activity. Emergency physicians see many sprains, strains and fractures in those who try to do too much, too quickly. Patients are also treated after developing shortness of breath and chest pain from over-extension.
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education.