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Pancake day is fun. Traditionally started to use up luxury ingredients prior to Lent, it has now become a great family celebration.

Pancake day without injury

However, statistics have revealed that frighteningly this one evening is often responsible for more people requiring hospital treatment for burns than on Bonfire night. By the end of the evening more than 250 people in the UK are likely to have been seen in hospital from burns and flipping accidents.

The majority of injuries result from burns; sustained when cooking, flipping and eating the sizzling delicacies. From cooking with metal handled pans that get too hot over the flame, to getting too close to the flame and setting their clothes on fire. People are often over optimistic in their ability to flip the pancakes, resulting in the pancake landing on their hands or arms. They then eagerly eat them when they are too hot, experiencing painful burns to the mouth and throat.

If someone is burned, the burn should be cooled under cool running water for at least 10 minutes (ideally 20). For burns to the mouth and throat sip regular cool sips of water and contact the emergency services immediately if the burns are severe and the casualty experiences any difficulty breathing due to swelling. All burns should be assessed by a health professional. If clothing is on fire they should Stop, Drop, Wrap and Roll – stay still to avoid fanning any flames, drop to the floor, wrap the area in something non-flammable and roll to smother the flames.

Slipping on spilt fat is also a major cause of accidents. When tossing a pancake, it is inevitable that there will be some fat spillage, and this is both invisible and lethally slippery.

If you do slip and experience a sprain or strain, rest it, apply a wrapped ice pack, comfortable support and elevate the injured area to reduce swelling. If you are concerned you may have broken a bone, you will need an x-ray.

In addition, people should be aware of potential allergies when inviting guests to enjoy the pancakes. Check if any of your guests have any serious food allergies and warn them if there is any possibility of contamination within your kitchen. Some very common allergies revolve around eggs, milk and wheat. Minimise any risk to your guests and ensure they come armed with their adrenaline autoinjectors, just in case. If someone does experience a life-threatening allergic reaction, use their adrenaline auto-injector immediately and phone for an ambulance.

The number of accidents occurring on this one evening is such an issue that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents even issued safety advice concerning the eating and tossing pancakes.

Their recommendations are good sound advice, suggesting that people use oven gloves and wooden-handled pans when cooking their pancakes and they urge everyone to be vigilant about wiping up all oily spillages immediately to avoid slipping.

Written by Emma Hammett RGN

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