As Americans gear up for Fourth of July barbecues and summer picnics and festivities, the nation's emergency doctors, hand surgeons and ophthalmologists brace for an influx of patients with fireworks-related injuries. In fact, one of every four fireworks-caused eye injuries results in permanent vision loss or blindness.
Prevent Blindness America, a member agency of Community Health Charities, warns that there is no safe way for non-professionals to use fireworks. If not handled properly, fireworks can cause burn and eye injuries in kids and adults. Thousands of these injuries are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms each year.
Community Health Charities and Prevent Blindness America want to prevent dangerous accidents from happening during this summer holiday. If your family and friends plan to celebrate with fireworks, please keep these safety tips in mind:
- Kids should never play with fireworks. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from their face, clothing and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800° Fahrenheit (982° Celsius) — hot enough to melt gold.
- Always use fireworks outside and have a bucket of water and a hose nearby in case of accidents.
- Steer clear of others — fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction.
- Don't hold fireworks in your hand or have any part of your body over them while lighting.
- Wear some sort of eye protection.
- Point fireworks away from homes, and keep away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
- Light one firework at a time and never relight a dud.
- Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them in the trash can.
If someone is receives an eye injury as a result of fireworks, follow these recommendations:
- Immediately go to a doctor or hospital.
- If an eye injury occurs, don't touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
- Don't flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention. Your eyesight may depend on it.
For fact sheets, quizzes and more, please visit www.preventblindness.org.
Source: Prevent Blindness America
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