Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busiest days of the year for food consumption, only second to Thanksgiving, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From spicy wings and nachos to chili and burgers, many Americans will be spending extra time in the kitchen this weekend preparing their game day favorites. 

Heong P’ng

February 6-12 is Burn Awareness Week and Aspirus Health reminds football fans to cook with caution this Sunday.  

Burn injuries at home are common, but a majority are preventable. In the U.S., more than 400,000 people receive medical care for treatment of burn injuries every year, according to the American Burn Association. Taking some simple precautions in the kitchen could save you a trip to seek emergency care and from missing the big game. 

Follow these tips from ABA and the U.S. Fire Administration to keep Super Bowl LVI burn-free and fun this year: 

1. Get your head in the game (and the kitchen). People aren’t thinking clearly when intoxicated, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, consider letting someone else handle the food preparation, especially if it includes heat.  

2. Create a kid-free zone. Keep kids at least 3 feet from the stove or wherever hot food is being prepared or carried. 

3. Assume all pots and pans are hot. As an extra precaution, always use oven mitts or potholders when handling an item that could be hot. Be sure that the material is dry, though, as hot cookware can heat moisture in a potholder or hot pad and result in a scald burn. 

4. Place hot objects so that they cannot be pulled down or knocked over. Turn pot handles away from the stove’s edge while cooking. Hot items should be placed in the center of a table or toward the back of a counter to limit accidentally bumping them over the edge. 

5. Power off appliances. After cooking, check the kitchen to make sure all burners and other appliances are turned off. Unplug tools such as these when not in use, and always treat as if they are still hot. If you sustain a burn injury while cooking at home, seek medical care.

Heong P’ng, M.D., is medical director of emergency services at Howard Young Medical Center, part of Aspirus Health.