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With cooler weather approaching, many of us are getting back outside to our barbecue grills. Whether charcoal, gas, or electric grills there are risks and dangers when cooking up a tasty meal. One of the main dangers when grilling are hand burns and injuries.

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand has posted five precautions to take when grilling outdoors to prevent injury:

1) Do not grill in high winds
      – High winds can cause your flame to be unpredictable, increasing your risk for burns on your hands and causing a fire.
2) Do not use matches to light your grill
       – Always use a long lighter to light your grill. Using short matches also increases your risk for burning your hands.
3) Keep your distance when measuring heat
       – Your grill may have heated up faster than you expected. Use caution and place your hands away from the grates when measuring the temperature, slowly moving towards the grates if necessary.
4) Use long utensils
       – There are special utensils made just for grilling. These utensils have long handles when compared to a kitchen spatula or tongs. These long handles keep your hands away from the source of heat, therefore decreasing risk for burns.
5) Wear gloves
       – There are also special insulated gloves made just for grilling. This is the easiest and most efficient way to protect your hands from burns when grilling.

Some of you may be asking, “what do I do if I have already encountered a burn?”

Burns of the hand can cause serious short-term or long-term disability. Treatment for hand burns should begin immediately following the injury. Do not drain the blisters at home, a burn physician may drain the blisters at a burn care center. While you will be given instructions for care at the burn care center, there are basic steps that are given including proper cleansing, dressing changes, positioning, occupational therapy, and splinting.

Prevention is key when it comes to hand burns. Be sure to follow the precautions above when you are planning your next BBQ. If however, you stumbled across this after an injury find the nearest emergency room or burn care center for treatment options.

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