By Heather Zimmerman, M.D.
You never see them coming, and that’s why they’re called accidents. Though beautiful, fireworks are dangerous objects that can cause injuries resulting in everything from a small shock to blindness or an amputation. However, depending on the severity of the injury, there are some actions you can take to help the victim.
First-degree burns: With the intensity of a mild sunburn, first degree burns can be treated by anyone.
If necessary, a dose of over the counter pain reliever can be taken.
Second-degree burns: Second-degree burns affect more than just the top layer of skin and will often cause blistering. To treat a burn of this severity:
Do not break burn blisters or apply any ointment.
Third-degree burns: This type of burn always requires professional medical attention. The victim may not feel as much pain as a minor burn because third-degree burns are deep injuries that damage nerve-endings. Call an ambulance immediately, and in the meantime:
As with second-degree burns, do not break blisters or apply ointment.
Eye injuries: If a spark or piece of debris gets in a victim’s eye, cover it with a plastic cup (or similar object) to create a shield and prevent friction. Do not rub or flush the eye, take any pain medication or apply ointment. Immediately drive the victim to the nearest medical location.
Loss of limb: In the event that a finger, toe, etc. is removed from the body:
Putting the body part directly on ice can damage tissue.
If you plan on using fireworks this holiday, there are some precautions you can take to prevent injuries and be prepared in the case of an emergency.
Ensure that there is an individual who is capable of driving to the hospital at all times.
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