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I know from this question that I should avoid cooking (at least without gloves) if I have an open cut.

However, once a cut starts to heal, how can I tell if it's safe to cook without gloves? Are there any firm rules, or is it based on experience and watching how MY cuts react to being washed often?

Are there different rules if I have a burn? Or is it the same -- if I'm likely to ooze, I should wear gloves. Otherwise, I'm okay without them.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you're really worried about it, put some superglue over it. It actually works really well...Just don't stick your fingers together. Regular superglue can irritate your skin, so if you have time to plan ahead, buy some Dermabond, which is a cyanoacrylate surgical glue...They use it in place of stitches sometimes. Works great. Your wounds will NOT seep. Period.

Honestly though, people get cut all the time in professional kitchens, and I've never seen someone do more than slap some glue or a piece of tape over it, and keep going. You can't just quit work for a couple of days without throwing the whole business into chaos. It's a rough trade.

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I don't have enough reputation to upvote answer #1, but I tried, and I'll second Satanicpuppy's suggestion of superglue. I use it all the time. Just let it dry before you touch anything. If you do bond a couple of fingers together, or get glued to a spoon or a pot or something, nail polish remover (acetone based, at least) will help you get unstuck.

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Most commercial kitchens require gloves over an open wound. As a rule, if there could be any transfer of fluids, use a glove. Its as much for your protection as it is the people you are serving. Wounds and bacteria/viruses/pathogens do not mix and no one wants to worry about what diseases you may have while you are preparing their food.

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So how do they define "open wound"? Would a scab count? –  Martha F. Oct 14 '10 at 20:17
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After years helping as a student in a restaurant kitchen, a finger cut was far more frequent than a palm cut. In those cases it was a pain working 14 hours with gloves, so the alternative was banding my finger and hold it together with the cut of a glove finger. That also made it some waterproof.

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