Here's Why Avocados Are Sending Thousands To The ER

Avocados are delicious and they're quite good for you, but did you have any clue that this decadent fruit sent close to 9,000 people to the ER... just in one year? According to recent Insider analysis of data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) national injury database, paired with information from the agency's epidemiology team, the actual estimate is that there were a whopping 8,900 ER visits caused by an avocado in 2018.

The culprit in these cases were nearly all caused by one thing — the knife used to cut up an avocado. Insider reports that almost every visit was deemed necessary due to lacerations to hands and fingers, although they did find a situation where someone fell off a stool while trying to pick up avocados. The phenomenon actually has a unique name: "avocado hand."

The issue stems from how the delectable produce is prepared. You can't slice through the pit (and you wouldn't want to anyway), so avocado prep requires you to carefully cut through the peel around the pit. If you do this on your cutting board, bravo — most people don't, and it's easy to imagine the knife slipping and slicing the palm of your hand. 

Injuries can also occur if you hack at the pit with the knife, hoping to snag it with the sharp edge and then remove it cleanly with a twist. Again, it's not uncommon to hold the avocado in your hand while attempting to do so. Finally, some people slice the avocado while holding the unpeeled half in their hand, and the knife can unhappily plunge right through the peel and right into your fingers. Ouch.

The best way to avoid turning your hand into a painful mess is to utilize things other than your hand. Slice it on the cutting board, and don't hit the pit with your knife (even though it feels pretty cool to do so). Instead, remove the pit with a spoon.

It may not be as fun as holding the avocado, hitting it with a knife, and twisting the pit out, and it's definitely not quite as easy, but it's far easier to deal with than a chopped-up hand. And if you're looking for a good excuse to avoid paying the recently exorbitant avocado prices, you've now got one.