Holiday Kitchen Safety: Preventing and Treating Cooking Burns
A Tennessee Christmas is the best kind of Christmas, but especially when it involves home-cooked holiday cooking. Visitors are traveling through our beautiful state to gather with family around a dinner table for some of the most festive meals of the year.
With the holidays upon us, kitchens everywhere are buzzing with activity. While cooking favorite holiday treats and preparing Christmas dinner is part of the fun this season, it’s essential to remember that kitchens can also be a source of injury. Cooking burns are common this time of year, but there are easy ways to prevent and care for minor burns at home.
Follow this quick guide for five tips on how to treat burns and mitigate risks in the kitchen. Keep your holiday cooking safe and enjoyable so that you don’t miss out on time with loved ones.
Prevention is key
To avoid kitchen burns altogether, follow these tips to keep injuries from happening.
- Clear the clutter: Keep your stovetops and counters organized and free of distractions to minimize the risk of accidents.
- Avoid fires: Store flammable items like paper towels, dishcloths, and loose clothing away from heat sources to prevent fire hazards.
- Stove-top best practices: Turn pot handles inward when cooking on the stove and remember to turn off stove eyes when cooking is complete.
- Protect your hands: Always wear oven mitts or heat-resistant gloves when handling hot pots, pans, baking trays, and oven doors.
- Exercise caution with hot liquid: When dealing with hot oil or boiling water, maintain a safe distance and wear long sleeves to protect yourself from splatters.
- Keep a watchful eye: Don’t leave young children unattended in the kitchen, especially around hot surfaces or appliances.
If you are burned, remove the affected area from the heat source immediately. Don’t try to save that tray of gingerbread cookies. It’s worth losing the holiday treat your cooking up if it means suffering a less serious burn. Cool the skin under cool running water for at least 10 minutes. This helps reduce pain and tissue damage. Resist the urge to apply ice or very cold water, as this can further damage the skin. With quick action and immediate cooling, your burn will feel instantly better.
Assess the Burn
Burns range in degrees from minor to severe. Below are the three degrees that will help indicate what kind of burn you are dealing with:
- First-degree: Mildest, causing redness, slight pain, and possible swelling. Often treatable at home.
- Second-degree: More severe, with blisters, intense pain, and possible redness and swelling. May require medical attention.
- Third-degree: Most serious, extending deep into the skin and potentially damaging muscles and bones. Requires immediate medical attention.
Minor burns are quite common in the kitchen and can be treated at home. If you are unsure how severe your burn is, it is best to seek medical advice.
Care for Minor Burns at Home
- Gently cleanse the burn with mild soap and water. Avoid cleansers with harsh chemicals.
- Apply a sterile, non-stick dressing to prevent infection.
- Do not pop blisters
- Keep the burn clean and dry.
Regularly change the dressing, especially if blisters accidentally get popped as this increases the risk of infection. If a blister is popped, dry the residual fluid and apply an anti-bacterial ointment to a new bandage. To relieve pain, use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen if needed.
When to Seek Medical Attention for a Burn
Severe burns should not be ignored. If you or your child are seriously burned, seek immediate medical attention. Below are signs that it’s time to visit an urgent care or, in very serious cases, an emergency room:
- Burns that cover a large area of the body.
- Deep burns that reach through multiple layers of skin.
- Burns that don’t show signs of healing within two weeks.
- Burns with signs of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, redness, pus, or foul odor.
Final Tips to Remember
Prevention is always better than treatment. Do your best to mitigate risks in the kitchen, but if a burn does happen, act fast and stay calm. Quick action can make a big difference in minimizing the severity of the injury, and following these steps for proper care will get you feeling better soon.
Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if needed. A professional can assess the burn and provide proper treatment. AFC Urgent Care can treat burns at our walk-in clinics, open seven days a week for patient care.
Enjoy a Safe and Healthy Holiday
Don’t let the potential of cooking burns scare you from getting in the kitchen this Christmas. By following this guide and practicing safe cooking habits, you will enjoy a safer holiday season with loved ones.
For further information on burn care or urgent care services, visit your local AFC Urgent Care in Tennessee. We provide the right care, right when you need it.