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By Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson

March 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - Stethoscope?  Check.  Blood pressure monitor? Check.  Ring cutting tool?  Huh?  According to some health professionals ring cutting tools, typically used to cut off wedding rings, can be standard apparatus in emergency rooms and in OB/GYN or maternity departments. 

Why?  Patients can show up in emergency rooms with smashed fingers that require rings to be cut off to save a finger.  Pregnant women’s fingers can swell up to the point of extreme discomfort.  Rattlesnake bit victims may also have their hands swell up suddenly, necessitating rings to be cut off.

In Southern California snakebite season typically runs from April to September.  But bites can happen all year long.  If you’re bitten, remove any jewelry on the affected limb promptly, or you may need to have it cut off later on.

Of course, rings can become too tight gradually due to arthritis or weight gain that may inflate fingers. Check elderly relatives’ hands to ensure that their ring is not getting too uncomfortable.

Here are signs that your ring is too tight, according to an article on Leaf.TV:

  1.  You cannot turn the ring on your finger.
  2. You cannot move the ring upward.
  3. Finger is tingly or numb.
  4. Skin is ballooning over the ring.

Often, soaking a hand in cold water and/or applying soap, ointment or lotion can help ease a tight ring off over the knuckle.  Swollen hands can be symptoms of a medical problem such as diabetes, so it’s a good idea to get a medical checkup.

For emergencies, an ADC 380 Finger Ring Cutter runs around $18 to $30 dollars.  Others cost into the hundreds.  Ring cutter tools may be a good investment for various types of businesses to have on hand particularly in medical settings and remote areas.

It isn’t just swollen fingers that can cause a ring to pose a hazard to your health.

 In some occupations such as firefighting and construction, wearing a tight-fitting ring can be dangerous, even causing amputations if the ring gets snagged on something. 

One solution is to wear a flexible silicone wedding band, as some people in risky occupations are now doing, at least on the job. In social settings, the switch back to standard metal wedding rings can be a normal routine.

 “Till death do us part” wedding vows should not flirt with the loss of a finger just to show your love. Other rings such as sport championship rings, class rings, or decorative rings should not lead to the potential loss of a finger if it is unable to be removed easily. Check the size of any ring and see if it’s time to get it resized by a local jeweler.  But in some scenarios, cutting the ring off is a necessity.