With Halloween just around the corner, people are preparing for an annual surgical strike on pumpkins, carving the gourds to spook or surprise trick-or-treaters and visitors. What used to be a simple task of cutting simple triangles to make a jack-o-lantern has transformed into an artistic feat for some. Although making a pumpkin into a piece of art is festive and fun, there are risks to handling the sharp knives and cutting tools. To prevent hand injuries, the American Society of Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), of which physicians of the SOS Hand & Wrist Center are members, suggests the following safety tips:
- Carve at a Clean, Dry, Well-lit Area
Wash and thoroughly dry all of the tools that you will use to carve the pumpkin: carving tools, knife, cutting surface, and your hands. Any moisture on your tools, hands, or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.
- Always Have Adult Supervision and Leave the Carving to Adults
Never let children do the carving. Let kids draw a pattern on the pumpkin and have them be responsible for cleaning out the inside pulp and seeds.
- Use a Pumpkin Carving Kit
Special pumpkin carving kits are available in stores and include small, serrated pumpkin saws that work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue.
Should you cut your finger or hand, bleeding from minor cuts will often stop on their own by applying direct pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. If continuous pressure does not slow or stop the bleeding after 15 minutes, visit the emergency room