We all love to celebrate the 4th of July, but please be safe around fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, most fireworks injuries occur during the one month period surrounding the 4th of July. In 2017, fireworks were involved in an estimated 12,900 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments, and at least eight people died. Children age 15 and under accounted for 36% of the total injuries.
Fourteen percent those emergency visits stemmed from eye injuries. Fireworks can rupture the globe of the eye, cause chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions and retinal detachment. These can cause permanent damage and vision loss.
Sparklers, which many people consider innocuous, can be very dangerous because they burn at more than 2,000 degrees Farenheit. Sparklers accounted for 1,200 of the injuries referenced in the above report. One of the eight fatalities mentioned in the report was caused by a sparkler.
The best way to stay safe around fireworks is attending a public event where fireworks displays are handled by professionals. Even then, you need to be careful. Respect safety barriers and follow all safety instructions. Be sure to have at least 500 feet between yourself and the fireworks.
If you do sustain a fireworks related eye injury, seek medical attention immediately and:
- DO NOT apply pressure or rub your eyes
- DO NOT remove any objects that are stuck in your eye
- DO NOT apply ointments, eye drops or any other topical medications.
- DO NOT take any blood-thinning pain medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen — unless directed by a doctor.