Don't Eat Me While Grilling | Atlanta ENT Institute | Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Georiga

Don’t Eat Me While Grilling

Every year we celebrate American Independence Day on July 4th, which represents the birth of the United States as an independent nation from Great Britain. In America today, the celebration is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, fairs, concerts in the park, family reunions, and of course, a barbecue! It is a time to spend with friends and family and the last thing you want to worry about is going to the hospital after having metal fibers from the family barbecue brush lodged in your esophagus! 

Wire barbecue brushes pose an ongoing risk to consumers. Even when used properly, tiny bristle fibers can break off on grill surfaces and become lodged in food. Barbecue brushes have caused an estimated 1,698 emergency room visits from 2002 to 2014. Injuries from grill brushes can affect anyone, but research notes people sustain the most injuries during, you guessed it…barbecue season.

This can cause very serious issues, leading to surgery if the bristle is lodged in your throat. In some cases, a wire piece can make it all the way through the digestive tract before lodging in the stomach or intestinal lining, causing infection and peritonitis — or potentially life-threatening inflammation in the abdominal wall. Bristles can also pass through the digestive system unnoticed, it is very important to see a doctor immediately! 

Safe Grilling Alternatives: 

The good news is that there are easy ways to lessen the chances you’ll be headed to the ER after dinner. If you want to stick to using a wire grill brush, use it for one season and then toss it since the bristles are more likely to detach after repeated use. When you use it, take a few minutes to inspect the grill surface for bristles before putting the food on.

Even better, opt for a different kind of brush that doesn’t come with wire bristles. Great, effective options include brushes made with nylon bristles or brushes that use mesh scrubber pads that resemble Brillo. We recommend using coil brushes that do not have bristles.  And then there are two really cool DIY methods. One: Crumple up aluminum foil into a ball and use that to scrub grill grates, SERIOUSLY, it works! Two: Cut an onion in half and use tongs or a fork to rub it all over the hot grill grates. Vegetables! Is there anything they can’t do?

Just remember, inspect your wire brush before you use it, inspect your food if you use a wire brush to clean your grill and BE SAFE this Holiday! Happy 4th of July, let our family, take care of yours!

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