DALLAS, June 29 (UPI) -- If a finger or toe is amputated when gardening, clean the amputated part with saline water, wrap it in gauze and put in a watertight bag, a U.S doctor says.
Dr. Maureen Finnegan, an orthopedic surgeon at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, further advised to place amputated part in a bag over ice and take it with you to a hospital emergency room.
Finnegan said data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta indicate more than 200,000 people a year are injured in accidents related to lawn and garden tools. Of that number, 16,000 are age 19 or younger.
The U.S. Amputee Coalition reports lawn mower accidents remain the No.1 cause of amputations for children age 10 and younger, Finnegan said.
"If people concentrate on the task at hand and use common sense when operating machinery, many of these injuries can be prevented," Finnegan said in a statement.
To prevent injuries, Finnegan suggests wearing sturdy shoes rather than sandals or flip-flops.
Before mowing, check the yard for potential problems like rocks and sticks that could be ejected by the whirling blades.
"Always turn off the mower before you clear the blades if something is caught, so it doesn't end up being your fingers that are caught," Finnegan said.