Fireworks Injuries Can Be Devastating, Yet Preventable NEW ORLEANS
Fireworks may seem like a fun way to celebrate our nations birthday, yet every year they send thousands of people with good intentions to local Emergency Rooms. In fact, the 4th of July holiday is one of the busiest days of the year for eye surgeons and others who treat victims of accidental trauma. Below are some alarming statistics:
- 8,500 fireworks-related injuries are reported every year in the United States. Of these, about 2,000 are eye injuries.
- 1/3 or 600 result in permanent eye damage
- 1/4 or 500 result in permanent vision loss or blindness
- 25% of all eye injuries caused by consumer fireworks happen to bystanders.
- 75% of all fireworks-related eye injuries happen to boys between the ages of 13 and 15.
"The most dangerous kind of firework is the bottle rocket because the fly erratically, often causing bystander injuries. Additionally, the bottles and cans used to launch bottle rockets often explode, showering fragments of glass and metal," says Dr. Joseph Guarisco, MD, Chief of Emergency Services for Ochsner Health System.
"The most common firework injury for preschoolers involves sparklers and burns. While most adults view sparklers as the most harmless of fireworks, in reality these sticks of fire can burn as hot as 1,800 degrees," warns Dr Guarisco.
The best advice for anyone considering consumer fireworks as part of their holiday celebration; fireworks are best enjoyed at a community display, not in your backyard. Additional tips from ophthalmologists and emergency room physicians include:
- Never let children play with exploding fireworks and rockets of any kind.
- Children playing with sparklers should be closely supervised.
- View public fireworks displays from at least 500 feet away or up to a quarter of a mile.
- Respect the safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
- Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
- If you find unexploded fireworks, don't touch them. Contact your local fire or police department.
"Remember, fireworks injuries are devastating yet preventable. Make it a safe Independence Day for everyone by enjoying fireworks set up by professionals," Dr Guarisco.
Ochsner Health System (www.ochsner.org) is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals, a sub-acute facility, and 33 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Ochsner was ranked #1Best Place to Work by New Orleans CityBusiness Magazine in 2005 and 2006 and received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 12 consecutive years.
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