COLUMBIA, S.C. — During holidays like the 4th of July, people flock to firework stores to buy fireworks, but those celebratory items come with real risk. In fact, emergency room officials say that it’s at this time of year they see more most of their burn patients for the year.
“About 75% of the firework injuries we see occur about two weeks before the Fourth of July and two weeks after, so roughly that four-week period,” says Dr. Scott Bloch, the Medical Director at Prisma Health in Columbia
And those injuries have a predictable patter.
“The hands and fingers are the highest area’s injured accounting for 30% of firework injuries, we also see injuries to the face, eyes, and ears, that falls for about 20% of the injuries,” he adds.
Bloch wants those to know if you have been burned it’s best to come in immediately rather than waiting out the risks. “If someone is concerned at all they should come to seek medical advice because the worst thing that can happen is someone tells them it’s a minor injury it’s okay, what we don’t want is them to think ‘oh this isn’t bad’ and they don’t show up for four to five days, and it’s worse and untreatable.”
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So how do you know if it’s that serious?
“If you have a thermal burn that looks like a sunburn you are probably okay, you have to be careful with things on the fingers, hands, and face they are higher risk injuries and have a harder time healing,” Block says.
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There are a few things you can do at home to treat minor burns rather than coming in. “Wash very well with soap and water, use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, keep it wrapped and cleaned, and if they aren’t sure medical advice,” he adds.
As for the the best way to stay safe? “Attending a professional show is your safest bet,” he suggests.