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Save Thanksgiving, avoid an emergency room visit

Nothing ruins a Thanksgiving get together like a trip to the emergency room. (AP Photo/File)

Nothing ruins a Thanksgiving get together like a trip to the emergency room. It's sure to happen, but most holiday-related injuries are preventable.

Prevention starts in the kitchen. In Seattle, Harborview Medical Center trauma attending physician Beth Ebel expects to see a lot of burns. "We know that there's a twofold-to-threefold increase in burn injuries around Thanksgiving and most of those are related to cooking in some form or fashion," Ebel said.

A lot of people like to deep fry turkeys: The burn danger there is obvious with bubbling hot oil, not to mention the possibility of starting a fire on the back deck. Dr. Ebel also cautions to keep kids out of the kitchen and be ready for an accident.

"Make sure that you have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure it's active and current because if you throw water on a grease fire, it explodes in your face," warned Ebel.

The burn risk doesn't end there.

"People open the oven and then the steam comes pouring out or they open the little bags and get burned," said Ebel. It's also important to keep sleeves, other clothing and potholders away from open flames.

When asked about preventing Thanksgiving sports injuries, Ebel offered a surprising opinion. "I hope people have good judgement but I say 'throw the football,' get out there and take a walk, I love being active."

Harborview's Ebel says the greatest Thanksgiving threats might be traveling and alcohol. Start by making sure everybody buckles up driving to and from a party.

"Another thing is, this is your family. When somebody's been drinking too much, don't let them get in the car and drive. Even if you don't like his political views, let Uncle Todd sack out on the couch," Ebel advised.

About the Author

Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.


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