With more than 10 years of experience as a freelance health writer and editor, Stephanie Watson has written or contributed to more than two dozen books on topics ranging from obesity to genetic disorders. She is also a regular contributor to several online and print publications, including HowStuffWorks and Cancer Monthly. Watson holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications from Boston University.
Your kitchen is a place where you can express your culinary creativity. It's also a place where you can get seriously hurt if you're not careful. Hot stoves can burn, sharp knives can cut, and a fleck of hot pepper to the eye can render you helpless.
So before you tie on your apron, review these kitchen safety and first aid tips. It’ll help make this favorite gathering spot a safer place for the entire family.
What would you do if you cut your finger while chopping vegetables? How would handle a stovetop burn, a spider bite, or a child’s scrape from a fall? Minor injuries happen every day, and most are easy to treat at home. But to handle them quickly and calmly, you need to know what to do and have the right supplies.
Kitchen knives are sharp. If you don't pay attention you could slip and slice your finger instead of that carrot.
If you do get cut while using a kitchen knife, here's how to treat the wound:
Clean it with soap and water. Apply pressure to the cut with a clean cloth or bandage for a few minutes to stop the bleeding. If you bleed through the cloth, place another one on top of it.
Use antibacterial ointment. If it’s a minor wound, dab a little of this over the cut. Cover the area with a bandage or gauze pad and adhesive tape.
Go to the emergency room if the bleeding is severe or doesn’t stop after five to 20 minutes of direct pressure. If the cut is longer than one-half inch, has jagged edges, becomes inflamed, or oozes fluid, you’ll need to see your doctor, too.
First Aid for Burns
A pot of boiling water or soup can leave a nasty burn if you're not careful. To prevent burns, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove. Keep kids safe by making sure they stay at least three feet away from the stove or oven while you’re cooking.
To treat burns, you first need to figure out which type you have.
First-degree burn. This involves just the top layer of skin. It looks red and is painful, like sunburn. When you press on the burned area, it turns white.
To treat it, remove any clothing or jewelry that’s near the burn. If your clothes are stuck to it, don’t remove them. Place the injured area under cool, running water for 3 to 5 minutes.