Fireworks are an iconic part of summer. Unfortunately, fireworks are as dangerous as they are beautiful. Every year, thousands of patients are seen in emergency rooms across the country because of injuries caused by fireworks. Often, these injuries involve the face. Because eye injuries, other catastrophic injuries, and death can occur from the misuse of fireworks, June has been declared National Fireworks Safety Month. This awareness month, which actually runs through the Fourth of July, was designed to help consumers prevent fireworks injuries. If you plan to ignite fireworks this summer and live in Chicago, follow some basic eye care tips. An ophthalmologist at your local ophthalmology practice can work wonders with modern medical technology, but eye injuries caused by fireworks can cause permanent damage and vision loss.
Reconsidering the Use of Fireworks at Home
The only safe way to enjoy fireworks is to view a show put together by professionals. Enjoy the fireworks display from behind the safety barriers at a distance of at least 500 feet.
Using Appropriate Safety Gear
If you do plan to use fireworks at home, check your local laws first to be sure they are legal in your area. Then, purchase safety glasses for everyone who will be handling the fireworks. Your ophthalmologist can recommend an approved type of safety glasses. Keep a bucket of water nearby and have access to a garden hose.
Igniting Fireworks as Safely as Possible
Never allow children to ignite, handle, or come near fireworks. This includes sparklers, which can burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is hot enough to melt certain metals. When an adult is ready to light the fuse, he or she should avoid placing any part of the body over the fireworks device. Instead, the adult should hold the lighter out at arm’s length away from the body to light the device. Immediately upon ignition, the adult should back away quickly. Alcohol should never be consumed before or during the handling of fireworks. Furthermore, adults should never attempt to re-light a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in water.