Security column: Hot issues in the kitchen


Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest days of the year for food consumption, second only to Thanksgiving, according to the US Department of Agriculture. From spicy wings and nachos to chili and burgers, many Americans will be spending more time in the kitchen this weekend whipping up their game-day favorites.

Heong P’ng

February 6-12 is Burn Awareness Week and Aspirus Health reminds football fans to cook with caution this Sunday.

Home burns are common, but the majority are preventable. In the United States, more than 400,000 people receive medical care for burn treatment each year, according to the American Burn Association. Taking a few simple precautions in the kitchen could save you from having to travel for emergency care and missing the big game.

Follow these tips from the ABA and US Fire Administration to keep Super Bowl LVI burn-free and fun this year:

1. Get your head in the game (and cooking). People don’t think clearly when they’re intoxicated, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. If you’re sleepy or have been drinking, consider letting someone else do the food preparation, especially if it’s hot.

2. Create a child-free zone. Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove or anywhere hot food is being prepared or transported.

3. Assume all pots and the pans are hot. As an added precaution, always use oven mitts or potholders when handling any item that may be hot. Make sure the material is dry, as hot cookware can heat up the moisture in a potholder or heating pad and cause a scald burn.

4. Place hot objects so that they cannot be pulled down or knocked over. Keep pot handles away from the edge of the cooker during cooking. Hot items should be placed in the center of a table or towards the back of a counter to prevent them from accidentally hitting the edge.

5. Turn off devices. After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off. Unplug tools such as these when not in use and always treat them as though they are still hot. If you get a burn while cooking at home, see a doctor.

Heong P’ng, MD, is medical director of emergency services at Howard Young Medical Center, part of Aspirus Health.

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