Ten Ways to Have an Injury-Free Fourth of July
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Published on July 04, 2019

bottle rockets and fireworks on ground

Ten Ways to Have an Injury-Free Fourth of July

Each year on July Fourth, around 15,000 professional firework displays will light up the night sky. For many people, attending these shows is the ideal way to celebrate America’s independence.

However, some believe that the best way to celebrate is to exemplify the ideals of the American way and do it yourself. There is no wrong answer when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July, but if you do choose to create your own one-of-a kind display, there are a few things to keep in mind to help ensure a fun and safe evening.

According to Avera Emergency Medicine Physician Heeyoung Wang, MD, every time you light a fuse and run in anticipation, there is the potential for an injury to occur.

Several novelty fireworks that are often thought to be safe can be dangerous if misused. On average, a sparkler burns at about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is almost nine times as hot as boiling water. That heat can cause severe burns. Wang said that injuries caused by fireworks most commonly impact hands, feet and eyes.

“If a burn does occur, the first step would be removing the affected area from what is causing the burn and cooling it with cold water for several minutes,” Wang said.

In addition, Wang states that it can hard to tell if a burn requires a trip to the emergency room.

“Some of the more obvious signs like blisters, charred skin, or nerve damage would require medical attention to help prevent infection," he said. "If you have a burn that seem less severe but covers a large area of an extremity, then there may be a concern of restricted blood flow and seeking emergency medical attention would be advised in that case as well.”

Fireworks of all types have risks associated with them. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends 10 precautions you can take in order to mitigate some of these risks:

  1. Always be sure to have water or a hose on hand.
  2. Never relight or pick up any firework that has not fully ignited.
  3. Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  4. Never position any part of your body over a firework while lighting it.
  5. Be sure not to light fireworks under a tree or on dry grass to prevent fire.
  6. Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks without supervision
  7. After a firework has been used, be sure to douse the remaining shell with water before throwing it away to avoid a trash fire.
  8. Only light one firework at a time.
  9. Never point or throw a firework at another person.
  10. 10. Always read and follow all warnings and instructions before lighting a firework.

There will always be a risk associated with lighting fireworks, but following these tips and using common sense can help you have a safe and fun Independence Day.

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