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The Daily Dish Food and Drinks

Why Are Avocados Sending People to the Hospital, and Should We Be Worried?

Why must you hurt us, avocados? All we've ever done is love you.

By Drew DiSabatino

Avocados, as you’re probably aware, are quite popular these days. (If you aren’t aware then we’d love to visit the private, reclusive island you must live on in order to not have noticed.) And for whatever reason the fruit has become a go-to addition for just about any person/place/thing you want to make a bit more exciting: Making chocolate bars? Add some avocado. Brewing beer? Add some avocado. Buying a house? Add some avocado.

Keeping up with it all, and keeping our puns fresh as we cover it, is a little avoca-demanding. (See? No one is proud of that.) But there’s another unintended consequence of this surging avocado renaissance that has nothing to do with bad puns or guacamole debates.

We’re talking, instead, about “Avocado Hand.”

And while on the surface that sounds like some kind of incurable rash/fungus, it’s actually much simpler.

As Food and Wine reports, “avocado hand” is a term being used by doctors in the U.K. to describe the rapidly increasing number of patients visiting hospitals after injuring themselves while cutting avocados. It’s thought that because the hardness or softness of an avocado and its skin can range greatly depending on the level of ripeness, home cooks are incorrectly gauging the toughness of the fruit when they slice, resulting in the rash of injuries. The problem has evidently become so serious that the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons is even advocating for warning labels on the fruit, explaining that people “are literally damaging their nerves—sometimes requiring surgery—all in the name of getting to the heart of this inarguably delicious treat.”

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So how concerned should we be the next time we slice an avocado?

No more than any other food, it would seem. Speaking with The Feast, Dr. Todd Halper of Rockville Center, NY explained that he doesn’t see a reason to worry about avocado slicing in particular. “It does seem a bit silly,” Dr. Halper explained after learning about the trend, reasoning that “people could injure themselves on anything in the kitchen—so it sounds like people are making a big deal out of it.”

While Dr. Halper has never heard the phrase “avocado hand” before, or encountered that particular injury in his own practice, he has seen plenty of other injuries from patients slicing foods. “Bagels are probably the most common, though usually not all that serious,” he explained, before adding that even those injuries are infrequent, occurring only “a few times per year.”

So there you have it: don't live in fear of falling victim to avocado hand. Just use a little caution around knives.

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