Thanksgiving is known for overwhelming emergency room staff with an overflow of patients. Injuries incurred result from a variety of factors, some of which are stranger than others. Activities such as preparing dinner, turkey carving, and horseplay with family all commonly yield injuries during the holidays.
Deep-Fried Turkey Hazards
Thanksgiving is distinguished as having the highest percentage of home fires caused by cooking compared to the rest of the year. Turkey fryers are dangerous products that account for a significant share of fires and personal injuries around the holidays. Deep frying a turkey can yield injuries if the meat is partially frozen or wet when submerged in the hot oil. This can lead the turkey to catch fire or explode, causing serious burns to the face, hands, and arms.
Cooking Turkey in an Oven Can Also Be Dangerous
Cooking a turkey in an oven also has the potential for injury. This is because:
- Unattended turkeys can catch fire in ovens
- Turkeys can be dropped onto the cook’s feet causing burns, bruises, or fractured toes
- Cooks or others in the kitchen can slip on turkey grease
Injuries From Carving a Turkey
Distractions from guests, exhaustion from travel, or intoxication can lead to unsafe knife use when using sharp carving knives to prepare turkey for consumption. Lacerations of fingers and thumbs are common injuries that frequently require stitches and lead patients into the emergency room on Thanksgiving.
Food Poisoning and Food Allergies
A surplus of food plays a key role in Thanksgiving celebrations. This puts people at a higher risk of food poisoning as the food may not be kept at the proper temperature for the entirety of the night. In addition, undercooked turkey can lead to illness. Emergency rooms see an increase in serious reactions from food poisoning or allergies as a result of unsafe or inattentive food handling.
Sports and Horseplay
Physical activity is another centerpiece of the Thanksgiving holiday as it is common for friends and family to burn off steam by playing football. This is another source of injury that sends people to the emergency room during festivities. The combination of alcohol consumption and contact sports is a recipe for an accident. In one of the strangest recorded incidents seen in a hospital emergency room, a man injured himself playing football while wearing a helmet made from a raw turkey.