Pumpkin carving injuries
Halloween is not traditionally celebrated in Australia but as time goes by there are an increasing number of Australians who are joining the celebrations and carving pumpkins in October. Pumpkin carving is, however, an activity that can lead to nerve, tendon and artery injuries. So if you're going to carve a pumpkin please do it safely. Preparation is key and it only takes a second for a finger, hand or wrist injury to occur!
Pumpkin carving tips
- Make sure your tools and hands are dry and that the area you are working in is clean and comfortable.
- If your pumpkin is heavy be sure to lift it carefully - not all pumpkin carving injuries are from a knife!
- Use the appropriate tools - there is no need to use a very long knife and doing so increases the risk of "unintentional knife plunges".
- Always ensure that there is adult supervision for pumpkin carving and never let children do the carving. Children can draw the pattern, and clean out the inside pulp and seeds with a spoon - but should not do the dangerous knife work.
- When carving always cut away from yourself and with small, controlled movements. "Unintentional knife plunges" are the most common mechanism of injury. Try to ensure that you are never pushing the knife towards your steadying hand.
- Consider using a pumpkin carving kit - these commercially available kits have small serated saws that are less likely to get stuck in the pumpkin tissue and are less likely to cause a deep, penetrating cut if you do slice at your hand.
- If you do cut yourself, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean cut. If the bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes you should seek medical attention. If you have numbness of your finger or hand, or difficulty moving the finger or hand please get yourself checked out by a hand specialist. To request an emergency appointment to see Dr Jill Tomlinson at Melbourne Hand Surgery please phone (03) 9427-9596 during business hours or use the "Emergency Appointments" portal in the top right hand corner of this website to send us an email any time.
The above advice is adapted from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand Pumpkin Carving Advice. For more tips on how to get your pumpkin looking great see How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin.
For more information on not injuring yourself with vegetables, please also consider taking the time to educate yourself about the dangers of avocados!
Image courtesy of ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net