June 1, 2009

What to do if mower severs finger or toe

There are more than 200,000 gardening accidents annually, including ones that resulted in severed fingers or toes, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Maureen Finnegan of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said whirling blades can send projectiles like rocks and sticks flying. They can also cut fingers, toes and feet.

If you do accidentally sever a finger or toe, it's important to cleanse the amputated part with saline water, wrap it in gauze and put in a watertight bag, Finnegan said in a statement. Place the bag over ice and take it with you to the emergency room.

Better, of course, is to avoid injuries. Finnegan said this can be done by concentrating on the task at hand and using common sense when operating machinery.

Some basic safety measures Finnegan recommends include:

-- Wearing sturdy shoes rather than sandals or flip flops.

-- Checking the yard for debris that could be potential projectiles.

-- Always turning off the mower before clearing the blades when something is caught.