Fourth of July marks a time for celebrating our country’s independence with picnics, BBQs, pools and fireworks. Sadly, it is also a time that can lead to a trip to the emergency room if precautions aren’t taken.
In 2010, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated nearly 8,600 people for fireworks-related injuries - two in five were children under 15. Most of the injuries happen mid-June through mid-July. While fireworks are beautiful to watch and fun to enjoy, Mercy doctors recommend leaving them to the professionals.
“Each year we have people come in with fireworks-related injuries, usually to their hands, eyes and head or face,” said Dr. Donna Eckardt, Mercy Children's pediatric emergency doctor. “Families should leave fireworks alone and enjoy displays at public events.”
However, if families insist on having their own fireworks, despite the well-documented risks involved, Dr. Eckardt recommends being cautious and following these tips:
Surprisingly, even sparklers, which are mistakenly considered safe by consumers, can reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and were associated with 1,200 injuries according to the CPSC, accounting for 20 percent of the injuries.
While taking precautions can help, injuries can still quickly occur. Not all burns need to be treated in the emergency room. Small burns should be wrapped in a clean, cold towel to stop the burning process, and evaluated as to whether they need further medical attention. If you are unsure about the severity of the burn, call 911 or report to your nearest hospital immediately. As in all cases, prevention is the best overall protection to ensure a safe and happy July Fourth.
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.