The Fourth of July! It is just around the corner, and with that comes a lot of celebrations, Independence Day parades, and fireworks. Sure fireworks are fun but did you know that in 2019 more than 10,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in the U.S. hospital emergency departments. It is estimated that fireworks-related emergency department-treated injuries in the U.S. are 3.1 per 100,000 individuals. In 2014, 6,000 of these injuries were almost fatal and patients were taken to the emergency wards for immediate treatment.
Eye injuries included contusions, lacerations, and foreign bodies in the eye, some even resulting in partial or complete blindness. They can cause permanent eye damage by rupturing the eyeball and /or causing chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, and retinal detachment. Therefore, while we are at it, it is important to understand the risk factors associated with fireworks, what precautions to take, and how to keep you and your family safe from any hazardous event.
Who is Most Prone to Fireworks Injuries?
While firework-related injuries can happen to anyone, it is noted that most children are reported as victims and 35% of the total injuries due to fireworks have been of children according to a report. In addition, surprisingly 65% of the injuries reported are of people who were not handling the fireworks themselves but became a victim of it. Around 60% of the victims of these injuries were bystanders. Also, it is logical to think that usually children do not handle fireworks and they can only come in the way of grave mishaps.
Some Incidents to Establish the Case
While fireworks-related injuries may happen due to any reason, the following are some of the most commonly reported accidents:
- Lighting fireworks close to flammable objects or human beings
- Smoke, debris, or gunpowder from fireworks
- Relighting already used or exposed fireworks
- Lighting fireworks when in hand on or any other body part
- Not setting off fireworks properly
- Dismantling fireworks and then setting them off
- Lighting off fireworks without a clear path
Note that when setting off fireworks, you need to make sure that the aforementioned indicators are not avoided. Most importantly, always set off fireworks from a distance to ensure no damage is done to you, and your family members, and your property.
What Should You Do When a Firework Injury Occurs?
In case, you or a family member suffers an eye injury, you should remember that it happened due to either force trauma, chemical exposure, or heat burns. In such a situation, you should immediately seek emergency medical attention. In the meanwhile, please keep the following in mind:
- Do not touch or rub your eyes
- Do not apply pressure or rinse your eyes with water or any other solution
- Stay away from self-medication instead let the medics handle it
- Do not try to remove any objects that might be stuck in the eye. You never know what damage removing them can cause.
- Do not use any eye-related ointments
- Do not put or take any painkillers unless prescribed
Tips on Ensuring Safety during Fireworks
Keeping a balance between fun and precautions can ensure your and your family’s safety. Here are a few tips that you should follow to keep fireworks safe:
Keep Children & Elders Away from Fireworks
There are numerous reasons apart from eye-related injuries as to why you should keep children and elders away from handling fireworks. They are prone to mishandling and getting injured but most of all their immune systems are weak compared to a fully grown healthy individual. In case they are injured, their recovery might be more complex than that of an average healthy individual in his/her mid-age.
Stay Safe & Enjoy the Celebrations
With proper awareness about how to work with fireworks and what to do in case of any emergency, you can not only save yourself and your family from injuries but also other bystanders. Be well-equipped with first aid kits and fire extinguishers for any emergency.