Kitchens are where we come together as families to cook, bake, share and bond. But there are also hidden dangers lurking from sharp knives to boiling water, making unexpected accidents in the kitchen a fairly common occurrence.
We want your kitchen to be a safe, joyful sanctuary and hope you never experience an accident. We also want you to know that if an accident does happen, we’re here for you at our conveniently located, full-service emergency rooms so you can get back home to create your favorite dishes — quickly and safely.
Read on to learn about five common kitchen injuries, how they occur and when to go to the ER.
Burns are common injuries in the kitchen as you move food in and out of ovens, navigate pots and pans on hot stoves and dodge sizzling oil and boiling water. Did the oven mitt slip as you removed a casserole from a hot oven? Did you forget the handle on your cast iron skillet was still scalding as you absentmindedly picked it up? These are understandable but painful accidents that happen to the best of us every day.
To treat a burn at home, first cool the injury site as quickly as possible. Use cold water and react quickly to treat it to avoid the injury getting worse.
Go directly to the ER if your burn:
- Has significant blistering
- Is bigger than the palm of your hand
- Is causing severe pain
- Is deep but doesn’t hurt to the touch, which could mean the nerves are burned
- Worsens over the next several hours.
Cuts and scrapes
Kitchen cuts and scrapes happen frequently if your knife slips while chopping or slicing, or a finger gets in the way while using a grater or zester. Cooking mandolins used to quickly slice vegetables, while convenient, can be dangerous and are the culprit for many kitchen accidents including lacerations. Use all your sharp kitchen equipment with care.
If there is bleeding, put pressure on the wound right away. Go to the ER if:
- A bandage doesn’t cover the area
- Bleeding doesn’t stop
- The injury is over a joint or impairing your ability to move
- Underlying tissue is exposed from the cut.
Cleaning solutions, citrus juice and hot peppers sometimes make unwanted contact with your eyes, which can be very painful. First, rinse the affected area with lukewarm water. Milk might work better at neutralizing if the irritant is something like a hot pepper. Go to the ER if symptoms are severe, such as:
- Eyes are very irritated or swollen
- They are red or painful
- Vision is impacted
- Worsens over time.
Falls in the kitchen can happen from slipping on spilled liquids, using step ladders to reach for something high or simply losing your balance while you’re concentrating on the task at hand. Hopefully you will catch yourself quickly enough to avoid a serious injury, but please have someone get you to the ER immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Can’t bear weight on the injury
- Excessive swelling or obvious deformity
- You hit your head
- You lose consciousness.
You might end up inhaling harmful fumes if you used strong chemicals for cleaning or something caught on fire. Inhalation concerns happen more for people who have an airway condition such as asthma. Treat at home first with any airway medications you have. If it doesn’t get better, then head to the ER. Look for the following symptoms:
- Excessive coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Worsens or doesn’t get better within a few hours.
Around-the-clock emergency room care
When you need us most, the emergency room physicians and staff at AdventHealth are ready to react with urgency, treat with expertise, and comfort with compassion. Our four comprehensive ERs in Johnson County offer responsive and immediate emergency medical treatment close to home.
We hope you stay safe in your kitchen and wherever you may be, but if an accident does happen, we’re here for you 24/7 to get you back to wholeness in body, mind and spirit.
Visit AdventHealthKC.com/ER to learn more.