Kitchen Safety – Burns

Last weekend, while preparing yet another batch of David Lebovitz’s delicious salted caramel ice cream, I experienced one of those kitchen “firsts” that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

I got burned by a jolt of molten, caramelized sugar. I should have reacted faster and rinsed off the browned culprit faster, but those few seconds it took me to bring my hand under cool running water were enough to score me a second degree burn.

Small little burns are not a rare occurrence in my kitchen. I’ve absentmindedly touched hot pans with my bare hands, had bits of oil splatter to my arms. Usually a cathartic “coño!” is enough to get me up and moving again.  This time, it hurt for a little longer than the usual quick burn.  The “it hurts but I’m… fine” mindset stuck through Monday, when one of my co-workers looked in horror at the growing scab.  My boss followed suit and before I knew it, I was sitting in the infirmary waiting for the in-house doctor to take a look at my injured thumb.  A prescription for a topical antibiotic followed .

Lessons learned?

  • Be careful in the first place, especially if you are dealing with oils or sugars that can reach temperatures of over 300F.  Burns can be the most serious kitchen accidents and preventing them should always be in mind.
  • Identify the type of burn so you can proceed with the correct type of first aid.  First-degree burns result in inflammation and reddening of the affected areas.  Second-degree burns form blisters that should not be popped.  Third degree burns destroy all the layers of the skin and require immediate medical assistance.
  • Run your injured parts over cool (not icy) water for a long time.  The five minutes I spent dousing my thumb with water were not enough to stop the damage.  WebMD recommends at minimum fifteen minutes.
  • A good basic first aid kit to keep on hand in the event of a first or second degree burn should include an antiseptic to clean the wound, topical ointment like bacitracin, and sterile gauzes or bandages.  If the blister breaks, you will need a bandage to prevent infection and further complications.

Sometimes incidents like getting burned or cut can decrease the enjoyment of our time in the kitchen.  For now, I’m displaying my little scar as a proud battle wound and adding another reason to why some recipes just stick with you.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

12 Responses to “Kitchen Safety – Burns”

  1. July 14, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    I am sorry that your public service announcement had to come at the expense of you finger! (Says the girl who had to have hand surgery following a bad day with a can of soup…)

    I hope the ice cream was really, really good. Hope you heal well.

    • July 14, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      Thanks, Cher. We’re working on the healing process and at least it doesn’t hurt too much now. The ice cream was fantastic – I’m not sure if I should go as far as to say it was worth it (because it wasn’t) , but it was very good.

  2. July 14, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Oh no I’m so sorry this happened to you! Burns are no joke 🙁

  3. July 14, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Sorry that happen. Your right, safety first. Take care!

  4. July 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Working in a professional kitchen I cannot even begin to tell you of my “war wounds” Some great advice here..

  5. July 17, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Ack, I feel for you! I have burned myself in the kitchen at work and at school more times than I care to count … and still I am too thick headed to get myself some burn gel for when I inevitably do it at home. Can I get a big “duh?!?”

  6. July 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Ouch! I hope it heals well! I found a burn bandage at the pharmacy that helps keep burns moist and stops the burning sensation. They are kind of gel like looking and are amazing! I keep them on hand as accidents happen to all of us!

  7. August 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Oh, ouch! Nothing hurts like a sugar burn….for some reason, burns on my fingers always hurt the worst….I hate it. Be careful and I hope you heal quickly!

  8. November 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    OUCH! You poor thing!!! You be careful now 🙂 xo


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