Don't Spend Your Scary Halloween in the ER

Halloween can be really scary when you spend it in the ER because of an accident involving a Halloween costume or a major gash suffered while carving a pumpkin, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Dr. Anthony Montanez, who is a hand and wrist surgeon at TSAOG Orthopaedics in San Antonio, says Halloween is more dangerous than you might think.

He says he first starts seeing adult patients who have suffered an accident carving out that Jack-o-Lantern.

"Mostly lacerations to the hand," he says.  "Mostly its the non dominant hand that gets lacerated."

He says a purpose made pumpkin carving knife, not a standard kitchen knife, should be used to carve the face into the pumpkin.  He also says children should not carve out the pumpkin, although they can participate in painting it.

And if you are cut, apply pressure with a clean cloth and elevate the area above the heart.  Dr. Montanez says if the bleeding doesn't stop, or you suffer numbness or an inability to move your fingers, it is time to get to the emergency room.

He says he starts treating young trick or treaters, some still wearing their scary costumes, later in the evening.

We commonly see fractures or the wrist from kids falling, either because they can't see through their mask, or they have long costumes that they trip on," he said.

He says masks should never obscure a child's vision, and trick or treaters should only visit homes in neighborhoods that they are familiar with.  Costumes should not cause problems when walking up and down steps, or have a length that interferes with walking.

He says also watch out for dogs on trick or treat night.  He says even a friendly dog may not recognize a child in a costume.

And always carry a flashlight, never a candle, when trick or treating.  Many costumes or other items carried by children, like face paint in costumes the bags used to carry candy, can be flammable.

Also, Halloween doesn't cancel out the rules of the road.  Always cross the street at lit, marked crosswalks.

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