Coinciding with the rise in consumption of the fruit, doctors are seeing more cases of the “avocado hand”—a condition that occurs when a person tries to remove the seed in a dangerous manner and ends up cutting their hand.
According to Hass Avocado Board, avocado consumption has tripled since 2000, with Mexico and the U.S. taking the biggest pieces of the avocado pie.
Avocado hand injuries have been flowing into the hospitals, including one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan health services, Eastern Health, in Australia.
“We regularly see kitchen knife injuries; approximately three presentations across each of Eastern Health emergency departments per week,” emergency services director Dr Peter Jordan told the Epoch Times.
“Avocado hand is [becoming] more common as more people are enjoying avocados.”
It is predicted to continue to increase, as is its associated injuries, a predilection explained by its unique, contrasting layers requiring varying strength to penetrate the hard outer casing, then a slippery inner texture, before encountering a large resistant seed.
People are also accustomed to improper techniques, often learnt from influencers on social media.
What to Do When You’ve got Avocado Hand
The name may sound silly but not the consequences: avocado hand can result in damage to the muscles or tendons, and even the nerves in extreme cases.
If there’s any possibility of a deep laceration or any weakness, numbness, or ongoing bleeding, get it checked out by an experienced doctor or an emergency nurse practitioner, as potential injury to deeper tendons, nerves, and arteries is a huge concern, Dr. Jordan said.
“Multiple muscles are involved in most finger and thumb movements; therefore, being able to move your finger doesn’t mean you haven’t completely severed a tendon,” he said.
“Fortunately, almost all hand lacerations caused by kitchen-type incidents can be repaired with a good outcome as long as the injury is identified, repaired appropriately and any expert recovery advice is followed.”
A study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2020 found that over 50,000 avocado-cutting injuries have been presented to the U.S. emergency department in the past two decades.
Women made up over 80 percent of injuries. The majority of injuries occurred in the 23-39-year-old female group (33 percent), while the least common was in males under the age of 17 (one percent).
According to the California Avocado Commission, to key to safely preparing an avocado is to cut the avocado on the cutting board rather than in your hand.
Doctors Call for Safety Warnings
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) has called for safety warning labels to come with the fruit.
“People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them,” the honorary secretary of BAPRAS Simon Eccles, told the Times.
“I think warning labels are an effective way of dealing with this. It needs to be recognisable. Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife and a big red cross going through it?”