Avoid Using Fireworks
WILLS EYE HOSPITAL DOCTORS URGE JULY 4TH PARTIERS TO AVOID USING FIREWORKS AS NATIONWIDE SALES SOAR AND INJURY CONCERNS RISE
It only takes a second for a firework to malfunction or be used improperly causing blindness and permanent, disfiguring damage
PHILADELPHIA, PA –Ophthalmologists from Wills Eye Hospital are urging revelers to celebrate the annual 4th of July holiday without using consumer fireworks to avoid risking blindness, facial disfigurement and a host of other traumatic injuries when handling or using the potentially deadly explosives.
This year, firecrackers and various explosives have already been set off nightly throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods and across the country -- leading to record numbers of resident complaints to city officials, police and fire departments. This comes as the public has spent three months indoors adhering to stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, civil unrest has swept the country and like nearly every other major event has been canceled, so too are many organized public fireworks displays - due to large crowd gatherings and the risk of contracting Covid19.
“We are especially concerned this year that we could see a significant increase in eye and facial injuries. Handling these consumer grade fireworks is no joke. You can lose your life, severely damage your eyes, even go blind. Every year, emergency rooms around the country see an increase in injuries including devastating burns and severe damage to the eyes,” said Ann P. Murchison, MD, Director of the Wills Eye Emergency Department at Jefferson.
Of the over 9,000 injuries a year from fireworks, nearly 2/3 occur during this part of the summer and nearly 20% result in eye injuries, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Even legal fireworks for small scale use can cause significant eye injuries, including sparklers which burn at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. More than half of those injured are bystanders and many injuries are in children. “This year, keep everyone safe and consider watching TV highlights from previous celebrations around the world instead – or skip the fireworks altogether,” continued Dr. Murchison.
If you do suffer an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical care immediately and follow these important first steps before you receive professional medical help:
- Seek medical care immediately.
- Do not try to remove anything from your eye.
- Do no rinse or rub your eyes.
- Do not put pressure on the eye - use a cup to cover and protect injured eye instead of putting a bandage or flat paper towel against your eye.
The Wills Eye Emergency Department in Philadelphia is open 24/7 and located at 900 Walnut Street across the street from Wills Eye Hospital.
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