The Top 5 Reasons for ER Trips

on Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is almost here! It’s a wonderful day spent together with your family and loved ones. People across the Country will be spending hours and hours perfecting their feasts after weeks of careful planning. Family from near and far gather together to give Thanks for the little (and big) things in life. The meaning behind it all is beautiful. So what’s the worst thing that can happen as everyone prepares to enjoy the delicious food? Someone getting hurt. And not just a little hurt, hurt enough to have to go to the ER. Knowing what the top reasons are can help you be more aware, and maybe help prevent an accident from happening. Here are the Top 5 Reasons for ER Trips on Thanksgiving.


Knife Accidents – Even before carving the turkey, food preparation involves a lot of knife work and accounts for one of the top reasons patients visit the ER on Thanksgiving. Here are a few quick tips to help keep you safe from a cutting accident.

  • Keep your knives sharp. Dull knives can slip while you’re cutting. Also, you’re more apt to be careful with sharp knives.
  • Slice away from your hand and keep your fingers clear of the blade. Slicing away from your hand prevents an accidental cut if the knife slips.
  • Don’t ever use the palm of your hand as a cutting board. That’s just inviting the knife to slice into your hand!
  • When mincing, keep the tip of your knife on the cutting board and pump the handle up and down quickly. However, because that knife is moving fast, be extra careful about your fingers.
  • Curl your fingers under and hold the food with your fingertips when chopping. Better to ding a knuckle than slice a fingertip!
  • Use caution with steak knives. They’re sharp enough to cut meat, which means they’re sharp enough to cut you.
  • Don’t lick the cream cheese off that butter knife! It really can cut your tongue.
  • Secure your cutting board. If it doesn’t have rubber feet to help grip the counter, put a damp towel under the board when cutting.
  • Never slice things freehand over the sink. That’s just an accident waiting to happen!

Food Poisoning –  The CDC recommends that all turkeys be completed thawed and cooked at a minimum of 325 degrees Fahrenheit. It is suggested that stuffing be cooked outside of the turkey to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. To help prevent this nasty illness, here are some helpful tips.

  • Wash worktops before, during and after use.
  • Wash dishcloths and small towels frequently and let them fully dry. Dirty, damp cloths are the perfect place for germs to spread.
  • Use separate chopping boards. Use a separate chopping board to prepare raw food, such as meat and fish. This is to avoid contaminating ready-to-eat foods with harmful bacteria that can be present in raw food before it has been cooked. 
  • Keep raw meat separate. It’s especially important to keep raw meat away from ready-to-eat foods, such as salad, fruit and bread. .
  • Always cover raw meat and store it on the bottom shelf of the fridge, where it can’t touch or drip onto other foods.
  • Cook food thoroughly. Make sure poultry, pork, burgers, sausages and kebabs are cooked until steaming hot, with no pink meat inside. Don’t wash raw meat (including chicken and turkey) before cooking, as this can spread bacteria around your kitchen. 
  • Keep your fridge below 41F/5C. This prevents harmful germs from growing and multiplying.
  • Avoid overfilling your fridge – if it’s too full, air can’t circulate properly, which can affect the overall temperature.
  • Respect ‘use-by’ dates. Use-by dates are based on scientific tests that show how quickly harmful bugs can develop in the packaged food.


Burns – Between simmering the cranberry sauce and baking pumpkin pie, there is plenty of increased risk for burns. Encourage patients to keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher close-by.

  • Always use oven mitts when taking things out of the oven or removing things from the stove AND microwave. Protective mitten types are good for taking things out of the oven because they protect the back of your hands, too. Using a dish towel is asking for a burn as the material isn’t insulated.
  • Never touch the stovetop with your bare hand. You may not know whether the burners are still hot. If you must check, hover your hand about 6in above it to feel if heat is radiating.
  • Stand back from a hot pan when you remove the lid. You don’t want to get steam burns.
  • Be very careful when draining hot pasta or pouring hot liquids like gravy from a pot into a serving dish. A splatter of hot liquid can burn you.
  • Never mix hot liquids in a blender. They can explode out of the blender container, even with the lid on.
  • Stand back from hot grease and boiling liquids, including water. These liquids can spatter and burn you. Keep your distance and wear long sleeves.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward. If the handles point over the edge of the stove, someone could bump them and send a pan full of hot food flying.
  • Keep appliance cords out of children’s reach, especially if the appliances produce a lot of heat. Things like Crockpots are great! You put the food in and it cooks it, itself.. However, if the cord isn’t tucked away, someone can pull on it, bringing the whole Crockpot, and it’s very hot contents, pouring and splashing everywhere.


Alcohol Consumption – Thanksgiving is reported to be the ‘deadliest holiday’ of the year because of its increase in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Here is a helpful tip! Drinking excessively is never a good thing to do health-wise, but if you do partake in a drink, please refrain from operating a car, a motorcycle, a ride-on lawn mower, a gokart or power wheels. No one wants to spend Thanksgiving weekend in jail and no one deserves to have their Holiday ruined by your careless actions. If you do not have a designated driver, call a taxi, Lyft (use promo code TOTALBENEFITS to save $5 good until 11/28/2018) or Uber.




Overexertion – Playing a friendly game of football with friends and family on Thanksgiving seems like a good way to fit in some physical activity on the holiday, but patients with heart problems or serious health issues may feel the pressure to overextend themselves, making it a top reported reason patients visit the ER. Just be mindful of your specific limitations and know when to gracefully bow out of a challenging activity.