Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For most, it’s a hectic time that’s loaded with stress and activities, but it’s all well worth it for the invaluable family, fun, and food to be shared with loved ones.Did we mention the food?

However, for some of us, Thanksgiving also means a trip to the urgent care or hospital.  Here’s a look at the Top 5 most common injuries and illnesses of the season, with tips on how to avoid them and keep yourself and your family safe and healthy this month.

Knife Injuries during Food Preparation and Serving
We’d go so far as to say that it’s impossible to avoid sharp objects on Turkey Day. From chopping all sorts of tasty ingredients to carving the bird right before go-time, there are ample opportunities throughout the festivities for a knife to strike its unsuspecting victims.

Prevention tips to preserve all 10 fingers:

  • Once a knife enters your hand, stop talking and multi-tasking until you’re done
  • Place a non-skid pad, or dry dish towel under your cutting board to keep it secure
  • When knifes are not in use, make sure they are stored in the back of the counter in a safe place, not in the sink or placed where they could easily fall or slide and hit someone
  • Handle the veggie chopping earlier in the day so you’re not rushed
  • Don’t drink and carve – whoever carves the turkey should be steady-handed and focused
  • Use a sharp knife, as the majority of accidents occur with dull knives

Food Poisoning from Contamination, Undercooking, and Improper Storage
You’ve heard it over and over again: raw poultry and its companion salmonella are nothing to mess with.However, it’s easy to lose track of which utensils and dishes may have been contaminated. Later in the evening when the meal is finished, it’s easy to succumb to the food coma instead of refrigerating all the leftovers.

Prevention tips to keep it clean:

  • Wash your hands and all cookware thoroughly after handling raw meat
  • When handling poultry, do not eat or put things into your mouth with potentially contaminated hands
  • Completely thaw the turkey before cooking, and cook at 325 degrees Fahrenheit minimum
  • Use a food thermometer to clock in the bird at 165 degrees before taking it out
  • Cook the stuffing separately, then place it into the turkey before serving (or ensure it’s 165 degrees too)
  • Refrigerate leftovers and ingredients you’re not using yet to avoid bacteria growth

Burns from Ovens, Fires, and Spills
When there’s cooking, there’s heat. When there’s heat, there’s fire and the risk of burns at every turn.With celebrations in the air and people crowding around the kitchen, this space can be a hotbed to mishaps and burn risks from bubbling-hot gravy to pulling a sizzling 20-pound bird out of the oven or deep fryer.

Prevention tips to tame the flame:

  • Avoid wearing loose clothes that could easily catch a flame
  • Monitor the workflow so you don’t have the proverbial “too many cooks in the kitchen”
  • Don’t be a hero: use those darn oven mitts
  • Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher on hand just in case
  • Point pot handles toward the back of the stove to minimize risk of knocking them over
  • If you’re frying a turkey, never fry it frozen and always ensure that it’s moisture-free

A Plethora of Alcohol-Related Accidents
We absolutely won’t judge for you indulging in a Thanksgiving drink… or a few. It’s tradition, after all. We do, however, urgently plead you to be responsible – for your own sake, and for the sake of everyone around you. Alcohol has a tendency to cause us to disregard safety precautions and underestimate dangers that may be lurking.

Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest days of the year in terms of road accidents. So don’t put yourself, your loved ones, or others in further danger! When in doubt, be safe and call a taxi or use Uber.

Prevention tips to ensure that premature sleep is the biggest danger of the night:

  • We can’t say this enough: please, please, please don’t drive if you have been drinking
  • If you’re on prescription medications, ensure you’re following directions
  • Avoid risky activities while drinking, such as cooking and making preparations
  • If you are drinking, switch between water and your alcoholic drink in order to avoid dehydration

The Annual Game of Family Football
We all have that family member who spends 364 days lounging on the couch, but magically transforms into a football all-star for the Thanksgiving game. And it’s this same member who suffers a back injury, ankle sprain, or wrist fracture. Let’s not forget the other family member who gets tanked and forgets that bones are breakable. We’re looking at you, Uncle Mark.

Prevention tips to stay intact:

  • Start preparing now with some gentle workouts a few times a week
  • Give yourselves time after the meal to properly digest and avoid overexertion
  • Petition for a friendlier game of touch or flag football
  • Wear appropriate athletic clothing, stretch before and do some warm-up exercises
  • Avoid drinking alcohol until the game is over to minimize accidents

Know Your Care Options Just in Case
In the unfortunate event that you do need urgent care, check out our revolutionary Your Care, Your Choice program to see our three convenient care options: in one of our four clinics, Mobile House/Office Calls or online via a Virtual Visit.

Above all else: stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!