Some of the most mundane tasks can be surprisingly dangerous. We hear a lot about people injuring themselves while cooking, gardening, or fishing because of some slip up with a sharp object. Maybe you’ve even dealt with one of these injuries. A cut that’s too deep for just some antibacterial ointment and a bandage, one that requires a little more medical attention. These deep cuts or scratches are called lacerations. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the ones needing medical attention are often long, deep, and have jagged edges. Lacerations are extremely prone to infection due to contaminants and bacteria often being on the object which caused the cut.
Safety around knives and sharp objects, whether in the kitchen or in the great outdoors, is key to preventing lacerations. Here are some steps you can take in these common situations where lacerations occur to avoid getting one yourself:
How to Prevent Kitchen Injuries
-Wear finger guards, cutting gloves, etc. when using a knife.
-Use the right kind of knife for the job. (Don’t use a steak knife to peel a vegetable!)
-Use the right tools to do the job. (can openers for cans, not knives!)
-Use a cutting board on a stable surface to prevent slipping.
-Don’t try to catch a falling knife.
-Don’t put your hand in a blender even if it isn’t on.
-Put knives away in the dishwasher—pointed side down.
-Don’t leave knives in the sink.
-Keep covers on sharp utensils (steak knives, cutting knives, potato peelers, etc.).
-Cut away from your body.
How to Prevent Yard and Garden Injuries
-Wear gloves (to protect fingers from sharp objects and to keep potentially tetanus-infected dirt from getting in wounds).
-Be careful and take proper safety measures when sharpening tools (wear gloves, use guards, etc.).
-Use the proper tools for the job.
-Stay up to date on booster and tetanus shots for sure!
-Use tools when digging. Sharp objects that may be buried in the soil can cut you.
-Wear closed-toe shoes, especially when working with a lawnmower.
-Wear gloves when using equipment such as, lawnmowers, weed whackers, chainsaws, etc. to protect your eyes from flying debris.
How to Prevent Hunting and Fishing Injuries
-Don’t try to clean wounds in streams, lakes, ponds, etc. Bacteria can enter the wound and cause infection.
-Store hooks and knives properly.
-Don’t stand in the cast zone.
-Pay attention to where others are standing around you.
-Don’t pull or jerk hard on a rod if it is caught on something.
-Don’t leave your rod on the ground while dealing with a hook that is attached.
-Like with kitchen knives, cut away from your body.
-Keep knife folded or sheathed when it is not actively being used.
-Make sure the knife you are using has a guard.
-Hand a knife to someone handle first.
-Never run with a knife.
-Keep your knife sharp and sharpen it properly.
-Keep folding knives well-oiled so they can move properly.
If you suffer from a laceration, the best thing to do is to immediately wash it gently with warm water and antibacterial soap. Keep pressure applied to try to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop within fifteen minutes of the injury, you need to make a trip to HealthCARE Express to get it stitched up. For lighter injuries though, just keep it clean and keep it covered for a couple days to protect it as the healing process begins. After a few days, remove the bandage so the wound can heal faster. If you receive a laceration in an outdoor environment and haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past 5 to 10 years, go to HealthCARE Express as soon as possible.
Be careful and stay healthy!
Timothy Reynolds, M.D.