A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in the past year, more than 1 million adults ended up in emergency rooms and doctor offices after accidents involving household items.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics says there were about 3.1 million ER visits due to accidents with all types of household objects last year, including knives, forks, spoons and cans of soup. That’s an average of 7 people a day who suffer injuries so severe they need emergency treatment.
Jeffrey Michael of the National Safety Council says that, while it’s not clear why these accidents happen, a survey of adults in 2014 found the most common reasons for kitchen mishaps included distractions like talking on the phone or watching TV, and rushing. He suggests taking a few minutes to clean up after each meal to avoid clutter that can lead to bumps and cuts. Also, he says it’s worth considering a safety device like a magnetic knife holder or knob covers for sharp table knives.
“The reality is, injuries involving kitchen items happen all too often,” he said in an interview. “And they’re preventable. So, if you take a few seconds to sort of clear the table and put away the things that you finished with during your meal, you can certainly reduce your risks.”
Michael says adults were most likely to hurt themselves at home cooking, processing or handling food. That was followed by injuries involving housework and yard work.
Children under age 5 had twice as many ER visits for these types of accidents compared to older kids and adults. But people age 75 and older had the most ER visits as a group. About 49 percent of those visiting doctors cited cuts from knives or other kitchen objects as the cause of their injury. The next most common cause was falls on stairs or steps, which accounted for about 20 percent of the injuries.
While the CDC survey did not look at whether people were treated in emergency rooms or doctor offices, Michael says it’s important to seek medical attention if you’ve suffered an injury. “We know that the vast majority of injuries are minor, and they can be treated at home,” he noted. “But there are some where it’s better to have a professional take a look.”
The CDC report is based on a telephone survey of about 7,500 U.S. households conducted from January through June of last year. The survey has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 1 percentage point.
How to Prevent a Paper Cut—With Your Mouth; and Other Good Advice People Should Keep in Mind when Handling Sharp Objects
An article about “paper cuts” that is actually just a list of cases of people getting cut by things, including penknives or a steak knife accidentally dropped on their foot. The article provides advice for preventing the injury.
“Paper cuts are notoriously difficult to treat,” says the article. “But you can reduce your risk if these tips help you avoid these types of accidents. Still, there is always a chance that paper cuts will happen to you.” The article then provides advice for avoiding paper cuts and notes that it is not medical advice: “A cut caused by an ordinary paper cutter may still require stitches or even sutures.” Don’t try to stitch a paper cut yourself, advises the article. Instead, go to an emergency room or call your doctor. The following list provides some of the possible ways people have injured themselves with paper: