While Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of cheer and thoughtful reflection on our many riches, some Iowans will find themselves spending Turkey Day in the emergency room.
Dr. Timothy Light, a surgeon at University Hospitals in Iowa City, says there’s always a spike in burn injuries on and around Thanksgiving. Dr. Light says those who study such Thanksgiving injuries thought it might have been due to people dropping turkeys in deep friers or having turkey basters explode or maybe having aluminum pans collapse, but he says further research finds it’s more often simple pan cooking fires.
Light says this holiday is focused in many ways on food, which may put many more people in Iowans’ kitchens than usual, which can be a recipe for disaster. Dr. Light says kids will reach up for hot pans and pull them down, something parents try to be aware of, while frying pan fires are also a big concern.
He says they expect to see a lot of people come into the ER with burns because they didn’t know how to deal with a pan fire. “The worst thing to do is to try and pick the pan up and carry it out the back door. All you’re going to do then is hurt yourself. You’re going to spill it on your hands and feet, you’ll trip and fall,” the doctor says.
He says to be safe, put the fire out while the pan is still on top of the stove. Just a large lid might snuff the flames. He also suggests always having baking soda nearby to smother the fire, or having a kitchen-sized fire extinguisher in the pantry or beside the stove.