The Health Hazards of Fireworks
July 3, 2018
The 4th of July is upon us, and fireworks are in the air! While there are fun times to be had, it is important to remember the health hazards of fireworks. Many people will be mixing fireworks with alcohol this week, which is especially dangerous. Without trying to hurt your good time, here are a few health hazards to keep in mind.
The Health Hazards of Fireworks
Fireworks are polarizing: some people love them, and others hate them. You can’t deny their association with Americana, though. Even the people who could do without fireworks will crowd around them for the 4th of July. They’re a traditional part of celebrating our great country. Chaotic and beautiful, you can’t go without them on July 4th. However, you should go with them responsible. You wouldn’t want your celebration to end in the urgent care center, would you? Many of the health hazards of fireworks are built right into the name: “fire” is a pretty good sign that things can go wrong, especially if we expect it to be doing work. Fireworks are just pretty explosions, which leads to a lot of problems.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these problems are prevalent in children. Little boys, especially. Whether it’s from playing with fireworks or being too close to them we don’t know, but that doesn’t change the facts. Being a parent might have a lot of health benefits, but it can also cause some health problems. The stress of trying to keep your children safe in situations such as this can lead to many things. That doesn’t change the importance of teaching them, though. These are the health hazards of fireworks, and what you can do to prevent them.
The Risks of Fireworks
The first risk of fireworks that has to be considered is structural damage, though this doesn’t have much to do with you or your health. A firework could theoretically rip through your house, but I doubt that will be a serious issue for you. However, this does illustrate one important thing to remember: much of the hazards of fireworks are considered by the professionals who run them. Firework shows don’t often run in residential areas because of the structural damage that might happen, and professionals know to avoid that. This will be a bit more important when we discuss preventing the health hazards of fireworks.
Beyond structural damage, burns are a prevalent fireworks injury, for hopefully obvious. Again: when fire is involved, the same type of hazard exists. Burns received form fireworks can have any severity, from first degree to third degree, and often need immediate medical treatment. Fireworks can cause other physical harm as well, including acute trauma injuries. Fireworks aren’t magic. They are explosives, launched directly into the air. Shells do fall, and injury will happen if someone is under them. Some cases have even been reported where a firework tips over, launching the explosive at a nearby person or car. Fireworks are just pretty weapons and should be treated as such.
Fires are of course a possibility, as well. In terms of your health, these aren’t likely to cause any damage that close proximity to a firework wouldn’t. However, this means you should be prepared (as much as you can) for the possibility, though. “Stop, drop, and roll” and other injury prevention techniques should be fresh in your mind.
Preventing Firework Injuries
The health hazards of fireworks are few in number, but great in severity. While “burns and injuries” might seem small, it’s important to remember that those injuries could quickly land you in a hospital. In any case, you should be ready to get medical attention whenever fireworks are lit. In addition to this, it’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals. Even the smallest of fireworks can cause serious damage. Professionals are often required to have several permits to prevent structural damage and injury. Of course, in the case that injury does occur, any gathering for fireworks will be staffed with emergency medical services. EMTs and other professionals are trained to handle even the worst corner cases and should be able to keep you safe.
If you do fire off your own fireworks, there are many safety precautions you should take. The first is to have a sober adult ready to handle any situations that might come up. Not everyone needs to be sober, but someone should be. Safety glasses should be worn, and fireworks should never be lit in a metal or glass case. And read the instructions. If you haven’t done it before, you don’t “know how to do it.”