Thanksgiving is right around the corner. That means good food and good times with family and friends. But for too many, it also means an unfortunate trip to the ER. Though injuries can happen on Thanksgiving, they can also be avoided easily.
As Charlotte, NC personal injury lawyers, we’re all too familiar with the injuries that happen on Turkey Day. Though people can get injured in a variety of ways, it seems the most common reasons are food safety and outdoor activities.
Here’s a breakdown of those two categories, and how you can avoid injury this year:
Outdoor Activity Safety
Playing touch football has become as much of a tradition as family meals themselves. While many of these makeshift games end with a proper celebration for one team, some are called early when an uncle throws his back out or a young cousin twists her ankle.
Don’t let your annual family football game end in injury. Here are a few ways you can avoid injury this year:
Training: You won’t see a professional athlete sitting on the couch for three months and hitting the field without proper training. Why would you do anything different? You certainly don’t have to train for months but if you know you will be playing in the annual family game, start getting your body ready a few weeks before.
Even walking around the neighborhood every day after dinner can help your body prepare for the physical demand of a football game.
Warm Up: It’s not unusual for the family to arrive, hit the backyard and start throwing the ball. This can be a bad idea. Most people warm up before exercise for good reason. Warm ups lubricate joints and increase flexibility to the muscles.
Take five or 10 minutes to warm up before the football game.
Know the Field: Many an injury has occurred because someone stepped down on a rock or got their foot stuck in an unnoticed hole. Take a walk around the section of yard you will be playing in before the first pass is thrown.
Toss or pick up any objects that could potentially be a trip and fall hazard.
Suit Up: Don’t wear tight, heavy clothing. Instead, opt for several light layers that you can both move easily in and remove should you get too hot. Encourage your family members to do the same.
While you are at it, make sure that you are wearing sneakers with a decent tread. Boots and flats are better suited for the indoors.
Stay On Your Feet: It’s not unusual for backyard football games to get a bit heated. Resist any urge you have to tackle another family member. Tackling increases the risk of injury, especially to younger players.
Drink in Celebration: Stick to drinking after the game. Alcohol not only decreases your balance and ability to make quick decisions, but it’s also dehydrating.
Drink plenty of water or sports drinks when you are playing the game instead.
When you’re preparing food, be sure it all reaches the right temperature before serving. Specifically, make sure your turkey gets to at least 165° F by checking the thickest part of the breast or thigh. A good rule of thumb is 15 minutes of cooking per pound, but always use a thermometer to check.
When you’re serving food, be sure the hot food stays hot, and the cold food stays cold. Otherwise, harmful bacteria may start growing, causing food poisoning among you and your guests.
There are right ways and wrong ways to store your Thanksgiving leftovers. Food should be in separate containers within two hours of serving. You may be tempted to store “meals” in sealed containers, but your foods will go bad at different speeds. Storing them together is a mistake unless you plan on reheating them within a few hours.
When putting food containers in the fridge, make sure that you don’t stack them too tightly. Your fridge needs to be able to circulate air. It can’t do that if it is filled wall to wall with plastic containers.
Speaking of your refrigerator, make sure that the temperature is correct. Your food needs to be kept under 40° F, so set your refrigerator’s temperature accordingly.
Your food is generally safe for up to four days, provided it has been stored properly. Thanksgiving is on a Thursday every year. Any food that isn’t eaten by Monday should be thrown away or frozen.
When you decide you want a bit more turkey, make sure you are heating it to the right temperature. It needs to be reheated to above 165 degrees. The same can be said for all of your leftovers unless they are meant to be cold. Soups and gravy should be brought to a boil.
If you have frozen any of your leftovers, don’t thaw them on the counter. Let them thaw in the refrigerator so they remain as cold as necessary before you decide to reheat them. Otherwise, bacteria may start to rapidly grow.
Frying a Turkey Outdoors
Deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner has become wildly popular in the past few years. However, it can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing (and even if you do know what you’re doing). If you’re going to be deep-frying your turkey this year, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Set up the fryer on a flat clearing: Find a patch of grass (or preferably, dirt) that’s flat and has no trees or structures around it. NEVER deep fry a turkey on a deck or patio.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Your deep fryer should have come with instructions on how much oil to use, and how big of turkey to use. Always follow those directions for safe frying.
- Wear protective clothing: You should have goggles to keep oil from splashing up in your face. You should also have long pants, a long sleeve shirt, a heavy duty apron and gloves on when you’re near the fryer.
- Don’t leave the fryer unattended: Unless you want a fire, always stay near the deep fryer. You should also keep children and pets away. Make sure you always have a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Go oil-less: There are deep fryers available now that don’t require oil. These infrared fryers are much safer than traditional oil fryers.
Keep a Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer’s Number On Hand
Even if you follow every safety tip you can find, there’s still a chance you could get injured. If you get hurt by someone else’s actions or negligence, you have legal options. Call the Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Auger & Auger today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us help make sure your holiday season goes right. 1-855-969-5671