Fireworks, bottle rockets and Elvis: How to enjoy this 4th of July safely

Elvis Presley Jailhouse Rock Public Domainby James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I really hate negative stories and nervous Nellies, but that’s what I have come down to today.

Please be careful shooting fireworks.

I read that Elvis and his friends used to shoot bottle rockets at each other for fun. Bad idea. Stupid. (I am a big fan of the King). First there are the hand injuries. I have seen amputations due to fireworks. Then the burns on the body and clothes catching on fire. Eye injuries, even blindness, occur every year.

According to the CDC, 9,200 people went to the emergency room in 2006 for fireworks-related injuries. Five percent were hospitalized; 11 died. In 2004, fireworks caused at least 2,200 fires. It’s very disheartening for me, not to mention the patient and the family, to see someone who has an eye put out due to a preventable cause.

If you do shoot fireworks, at least being extremely, extremely careful: Wear goggles and don’t let children play with them. Take the dangers seriously. Most injuries are from common bottle rockets and firecrackers because they are used the most and taken lightly. Sparklers account for up to one-third of fireworks burns in children under 5.

watermelon slice and wholeIn an article for American Council on Science and Health, LASIK surgeon Emil William Chynn, M.D., F.A.C.S., M.B.A., suggests having a bucket of water nearby.In case of eye injury, do not touch the eye,” he says. “Tape a clean paper cup over the eye to prevent contamination or further injury” and seek professional help immediately.

In the end, why not just leave it to the professionals and watch the community display this year? Have fun, eat watermelon (good nutrition) and enjoy the fireworks from afar.

What are your plans? Any public activities you’d like to point out?

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2 Responses to “Fireworks, bottle rockets and Elvis: How to enjoy this 4th of July safely”

  1. Mark Salinas Says:

    Great advice….I will print this one out for the weekend! Thanks!

    Mark Salinass last blog post..Maintaining a Healthy Routine

  2. lhubbard Says:

    Here’s an article from ABC7 listing some public displays in Colorado.

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/13525136/detail.html

    Leigh Ann Hubbard
    Managing Editor
    James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor

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