Fried Turkey Fireball and Other Thanksgiving Catastrophes

November 19, 2013
by Michael Barber
Fried Turkey Fireball and Other Thanksgiving Catastrophes

Urgent care centers have a lot of visitors on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and even on the big day itself. After all, the habit of cooking a sumptuous feast once a year comes with a bit of a learning curve. Unfortunately, plenty of holiday cooks are blindsided by some of the bumps along the way.

Food Poisoning

Urgent care locations receive quite a few calls from folks suffering from post-feast stomach cramps. The likely culprit is food poisoning. A whole turkey must be cooked to a minimum interior temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The federal government's food safety agency warns that this is also true when reheating the turkey for evening sandwiches and dinner. It is here that food poisoning frequently occurs. The other avenue of contamination comes via the stuffing inside an undercooked turkey.

Related: 4 Food Safety Tips to Always Keep in Mind

Appliance Malfunctions

If you only use the turkey deep fryer once a year and don't take the proper safety precautions, nearby walk-in clinics may be your next destination. With any cooking vessel, there are dangers inherent to the makeup of the culinary practice. In the case of deep fryers, the high oil temperature can lead to catastrophic burns. The new knife set you are using can be significantly different in its weight distribution, which can result in painful cuts while chopping your stuffing ingredients.

Related: Accident Prone: Common Holiday Accidents [INFOGRAPHIC]

Venture out of your comfort zone slowly. Be sure to read through the operating instructions for infrequently used cooking vessels prior to using them. Start early to allow extra time for researching suspect cooking instructions or unusual ingredients usage. Supervise the gadgetry because fryers are easy to overturn. Pets, children, and even the adults playing soccer in the backyard can knock over the fryer. Make sure that someone is in charge of the cooking vessel and keeps a close eye on it. Always have a backup plan and keep a fire extinguisher near the fryer. It should be rated for grease fires. Know where you first aid kit is.

Unexpected Set Backs 

Anticipate problems. The organs are frequently placed inside a plastic container and then shoved into the breast cavity of the turkey. Some turkeys are made to fit into their packaging with the help of wires. Read the outside of the package to know what you might encounter when working with the bird. There is no shame in wearing clean kitchen gloves to handle the poultry. It's also not a bad idea to have microwaveable ingredients that you can use in a pinch. 

If You Suffer an Injury

Be cautious if you sustain an injury during the Thanksgiving feast preparations. Enlist the help of on-call emergency personnel in retail clinics to treat a burn, deep cut, or other wound. These professionals already know the holidays can be dangerous for the cook who does not routinely put together a large feast for friends and family members. Let them help you get back to feeling well and healthy enough to enjoy the Black Friday sales that follow the holiday.

Related: Care Continuum: Where to Go When Your Sick or Injured

Common sense is your best bet to avoid Thanksgiving catastrophes this year. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is if you've never used an appliance, carving tool, or other cooking source, ask for help before you begin to prepare the day's meal.