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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: Pumpkin Carving Safety

William Warby (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Scary tales of people having their blood sucked by vampires or their heads sought by decapitated horsemen give us chills on All Hollows Eve. Urban legends warn us of those who tamper with trick or treat candy. However, research tells us the real danger on Halloween is: creating a jack o’ lantern.

Hello, I’m Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs at Southeast Missouri State University. Pumpkin carving is the leading cause of injuries associated with Halloween, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand quoted Dr. Jeffrey Wint, from The Hand Center of Western Massachusetts, who stated “Every Halloween season we see four or five patients — both adults and children — who come into our office with severe injuries to their hands and fingers. Treatment can often run three to four months, from the time of surgery through rehabilitation."

To avoid this frightening scenario the following suggestions are offered:

Carve in a clean, dry, well-lit area.

Let children draw or paint on pumpkins, but leave the carving to the adults.

Use a pumpkin carving kit rather than a large, sharp knife for the task: The kits’ small, serrated pumpkin saws work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue. If they do get jammed and then wedged free, they are not sharp enough to cause a deep, penetrating cut.




Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.