2 Your Health: Dangers of Backyard Fireworks

2 Your Health

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Fourth of July may lose some of its sparkle this year due to COVID-19.

Some large fireworks displays have been canceled in an effort to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread, but that doesn’t mean you should take matters into your own hands. Baruch Fertel, MD, an emergency department doctor at Cleveland Clinic, reminds us that backyard fireworks can be dangerous.

“Every year we see people, who attempt to shoot off their own fireworks, coming into emergency departments – burns, mangled hands, with eye injuries. We just want people to know that they should be safe,” he said. 57 percent of fireworks injuries are burns, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Injuries to the hands and fingers are most common, followed by the legs, face and eyes.

Dr. Fertel said alcohol and fireworks don’t mix, so any adults handling them should be sober and take appropriate safety precautions. Fireworks should be ignited in a wide open area, away from structures, or dry leaves – and once lit, you should move away quickly.

Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby in case of a fire, or emergency. And after fireworks complete burning, douse them with plenty of water. If a fireworks device doesn’t fully ignite– don’t pick it up or try relighting it.

Dr. Fertel said the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to avoid DIY displays altogether and hire a professional.

“Fireworks are dangerous. They’re beautiful, they’re lovely to watch when done in the hands of professionals, but those professionals wear protective eyewear, they know how to handle these, and they make sure to do that in a safe way.”

Dr. Fertel adds that children should always be kept away from fireworks and watched very closely with sparklers because they burn at about 2,000 degrees and can injure a child.

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