For local emergency rooms, injuries from fireworks are as traditional as the Fourth of July. Many people end up with a painful reminder of how dangerous fireworks can be.
More than two-thirds of fireworks-related injuries are burns. And most of the time the patient is male between ages 10 and 14.
Dr. Erik Deurell is medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Room at Summerlin Hospital. He says that many of the injuries are to the hand and fingers, some will be to the head and the worst injuries will be to the eyes.
Dr. Deurell says, "We're not just talking about the physical injury, which can be horrible, up to including blindness or even death in some instances, but disfigurement, which can really weigh heavily on a child's self esteem later on in life."
Dr. Deurell recalls one case in which a child held a firecracker in a closed fist. He thought it was out. The firecracker went off taking three fingers with it.
But it doesn't take a firecracker or a bottle rocket to cause damage. Even sparklers can leave permanent reminders. "Something that burns that hot certainly can give you second or third-degree burns, which can give you permanent scarring in that area," explains Dr. Deurell.
UMC Emergency Room physician Dale Carrison says that despite more public information, July 4th and fireworks injuries still go hand in hand. "We will see burns. We will see burns from people having fireworks and using them. We will probably also see burns from people catching other things on fire with fireworks."
The doctors Eyewitness News spoke with offer a few suggestions for avoiding fireworks-related injuries:
- Never give fireworks to small children.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never re-light a "dud" firework.
- And never carry fireworks in your pocket.
Dr. Dale Carrison says, "The extreme danger is catching clothes on fire. Then when you catch people's clothes on fire, you have a serious, serious burn. It's not just that little burn on the hand."
Dr. Deurell says that a burn from a firework, such as a sparkler, should be held under cold-running water for 10 to 15 minutes before applying any type of ointment.
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