The Number Of BBQ Brush-Bristle E.R. Visits Will Be Just Enough To Trouble You

Notting Hill Carnival 2006
Getty Image / Miles Willis

Summer is slowly lurching its way forward, and that means we are about to hit prime barbecue season. That’s lovely news, because who doesn’t enjoy a barbecued meal? Well, aside from the surprisingly large number of folks that have been sent to the hospital thanks to brush bristles in the meal.

A new study looking at injuries attached to ingesting wire bristles suggests that the problem is larger than you might think. Researchers say that nearly 1,700 hospital visits between 2002 and 2014 were due to people getting the bristles in their meal. Not in a “I like my hot dog to be wrapped in wire, please” sorta way, but through bristles that adhere to the grill. Throat, tonsil and mouth injuries made up a large chunk of the cases and even managed to outpace the number of injuries to the stomach and intestines.

We probably should have included a warning to read this after dinner.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, presents the argument that this hazard is something that has a tendency to be overlooked.

“The issue is likely under reported and thus underappreciated,” said the study’s lead author, C.W. David Chang, MD. “Because of the uncommon nature of wire bristle injuries, people may not be as mindful about the dangers and implications. Awareness among emergency department physicians, radiologists, and otolaryngologists is particularly important so that appropriate tests and examinations can be conducted.”

It’s not all doom, gloom and mouthfuls of wire, mind you. There are steps barbecue enthusiasts can take to prevent these sorts of injuries from occurring. Practices like inspecting the grill, inspecting your brush, and exploring other cleaning options can be useful in the fight against brush ingestion. It’s also likely recommended you do not gnaw on the brush while you’re bored. That wasn’t explicitly stated, but we’ve got a gut feeling about it.

(via ScienceDaily)