President's Prescription: Carving Pumpkins - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

President's Prescription: Carving Jack may end with a trip to the ER

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Halloween is one of the oldest holidays and is full of traditions like trick-or-treating, costumes, and haunted houses. And it wouldn't be Halloween without a great-carved pumpkin. But, if you are not careful, this Jack-O-lantern can land you in the emergency room.

Halloween is among the top three holidays producing the most ER visits with accidental lacerations and puncture wounds to the hands and fingers. Many of these injuries require surgery and rehabilitation. There is a wrong way to carve a pumpkin. Pumpkins can be slippery and tough. In a second, a knife can slip and go through the skin and out the other side. 

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons gives these tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • When carving pumpkins remember to use specifically designed carving knives, rather than kitchen knives, as they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin skin. Carve the pumpkin in small, controlled strokes, away from yourself on a strong, sturdy surface.
  • Carving knives should be kept in a clean, dry, well-lit area. Any moisture on the tools, hands, or table can cause the knife to slip, leading to injuries.
  • Should you cut a finger or hand, make sure the hand is elevated higher than the heart and apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, an emergency room visit may be necessary.
  • Children should never carve pumpkins. Try painting pumpkins for a fun, creative option.
  • Think of fire hazards when lighting jack-O-lantern candles, by using glow sticks or artificial lights instead.

Some people cut the bottom out of the pumpkin instead of the top. That way you can lower the pumpkin down onto a candle without burning yourself. Have a safe Halloween. For the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell and this is the President's Prescription

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