"Avocado Hand" Injuries on the Rise - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

"Avocado Hand" Injuries on the Rise

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When it comes to super foods, avocados are climbing the ranks and found in a variety of dishes - beyond guacamole. Culinary creators are incorporating it in just about everything - including dessert! But beware before cutting into the buttery fruit! With an increasing appetite for avocados, Emergency Room doctors are busy. Even Meryl Streep lost her knife battle with an avocado, which she admitted while speaking to a crowd with a thick bandage wrapped around her hand.

"If I see people with hand lacerations, I usually think it's related to the kitchen and most of the time it is,” says Dr. Lisa Hudson who is an emergency room physician at Northern Nevada Medical Center. While kitchen casualties are not the most common injury she sees, they do happen. "Especially with avocados, yes; you're distracted."

So, how do you slice safely? We take that question to Nothing To It! Culinary Center where co-owner, Lara Ritchie says regardless of what you're chopping - you have to start with a sharp blade. "Having it sharp [is the] best defense and then, of course, knowing how to use it." Lara starts at the top. "Now I'll send the knife through until I hit the seed. Now if you're not comfortable doing it in your hand, you can cut it on the cutting board and I'll rotate my avocado around my knife." Then you twist it apart, smack the pit with your knife and pull it out. Removing the seed is where some people get into trouble. The stubborn, slimy seed isn't always easy to pull off the knife, so don't grab it with your hand! Instead, Lara hits the base of the knife on the counter or sink and, “The seed comes right off.'" Getting the flesh out of the botanical berry can be problematic, too. "Once you hit the skin, you're just dragging the knife; you are not applying any pressure."

If you happen to slice through its skin and yours - when should you rush to the hospital? "I would try to clean it out and assess how much it's bleeding. Always, if you noticed any spurting - you want to apply pressure immediately and seek medical attention," explains Dr. Hudson. Bottom line, knowing your knives and using caution in the kitchen is the best recipe for staying out of the ER.

If you want to sharpen your knife skills, Nothing To It! Culinary Center will have a Knife Skills class on Wednesday, August 2nd.  To learn more, log on to http://www.nothingtoit.com/.

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