Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
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Don’t carve your hand
As Halloween nears, I wanted to remind everyone to be careful when carving pumpkins. Yeah, yeah, that’s common sense, right? But hand surgeons say they see patients every year who’ve suffered severe damage from a pumpkin carving accident.
Here are some safety tips from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand:
- Carve in a clean, dry, well-lit area. Avoid trying to do it on the fly, in the dark, on your front stoop. Yes, I’ve tried this and failed.
- Leave the carving to the adults. Your kids may beg and plead. You can let them outline the design with a permanent marker, but make sure only adults handle the carving tools.
- Sharper isn’t better. “A sharper knife is not necessarily better, because it often becomes wedged in the thicker part of the pumpkin, requiring force to remove it,” says Massachusetts hand surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Wint. “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 are also sustained when the knife slips and comes out the other side of the pumpkin where your hand may be holding it steady.”
- Consider a kit. Special pumpkin carving kits include small, serrated pumpkin saws that are less likely to get stuck in a pumpkin.