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Breaking More Than Bread & Wishbones: A Guide to Thanksgiving Injuries

The holiday season is upon us! And while Thanksgiving is often full of family, food and lots to do, it’s important to acknowledge the increased risks that come with the enjoyment of holiday activities, whether it be hoisting a piping hot 25-pound turkey out of the oven or participating in a game of football in the yard.

By recognizing and understanding the dangers of each activity, you can protect yourself and loved ones against common holiday season health hazards and reduce your chances of experiencing injuries at home, making for a safe week of family fun!

Here are some of the common risks to avoid as Thanksgiving draws near:


Work in and around the kitchen can lead to increased chances of minor and/or major burns. Whether it be hot oil splatters, contact with pot handles, stovetops or oven doors, it’s important to stay alert and prepared when prepping and cooking your Thanksgiving meal. Take the time to prepare against potential hazards by making sure to:

  • Move the handles of pots away from the edge of the stove to minimize the risk of contact with the flesh.
  • Tie aprons tight, put up long hair in a ponytail and avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry so dangling sleeves, materials and hair do not catch fire while cooking.
  • Use two hands and slow movements when pulling a hot turkey out of the oven to ensure you don’t scald your fingers or wrists. Bonus Tip: Make sure to bend your knees and lift instead of pulling from your back to avoid muscle strains!

Cuts and Lacerations

Thanksgiving meal prep calls for the use of sharp knives and utensils – particularly when carving the turkey! To prevent dangerous cuts, puncture wounds or lacerations, you should:

  • Focus on the task at hand when carving a turkey or cutting vegetables; distractions can lead to hazardous slip-ups.
  • Request assistance if this is going to be your first time carving a turkey and you feel uneasy about using sharp tools. If there is no one around to assist in the preparations, take your time and follow a guide.
  • Only use sharp knives and utensils. Most accidents and slip-ups while cutting occur with dull knives, as the additional force needed when using these tools is more likely to result in accidents.
  • Keep your cutting board secure with a non-skid pad to reduce the risk of slips and accidental cuts or punctures.
  • Use familiar cutlery; mistakes are more likely to occur when using utensils you are not accustomed to.

Football Games, Fractures, and Falls

Outdoor cookouts, games, and activities like football are a staple of Thanksgiving tradition for many. If you are going to take part in any sort of physical activity, you can help prevent common injuries, such as muscle tears, sprains, or bone fractures, by practicing some of the following:

  • Warm-up with some light stretching or jumping jacks to prevent pulling, overextending or tearing a muscle.
  • Stop immediately if you begin to feel any nagging, pulling, or tingling sensation in the midst of physical activity.
  • Watch out for wet grass, mud and leaves — these surfaces tremendously heighten the threat of slips and falls.

Food Poisoning

When handling meat, there’s always a risk of bacterial infection. You can limit your chances of contracting food poisoning this Thanksgiving if you:

  • Make sure to completely thaw the turkey. Safely thawing a frozen turkey is one of the most important steps in Thanksgiving meal preparations.
  • Make sure to cook your turkey at a minimum of 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cook stuffing outside of the turkey to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
  • Don’t use “pop-up” thermometers sold with most turkeys – they’re not wholly reliable – and check the temperature of the turkey in various areas.

Accidents happen, and even following all of these preventative measures isn’t a guarantee at keeping you safe. If you do experience a severe burn, laceration or fall while preparing your holiday meal this year — or any persistent abdominal discomfort, nausea or diarrhea after the fact — head to your nearest vybe urgent care facility (in Center City, Roxborough, Port Richmond, or South Philly) for immediate care. We’ll have you all patched up and ready to get back to celebrating in no time!

While we are closed on Thanksgiving in celebration of the holiday, we’ll be available from 8:00am to 8:00pm the following day to assist with any of these turkey day injuries. Any time after, you can find us open seven days a week 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday and 8:00am to 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season to you and yours from all of us at vybe!