Fireworks safety and eye injury prevention safety and eye injury prevention

By David Butler, DO, FAAP

July has officially been deemed National Eye Injury Prevention Month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the data to show why.

Each year injuries from fireworks cause approximately 9,100 emergency room visits, with 15% being eye related. Many of these injuries happen around weeks near the Fourth of July.

As we approach the Fourth of July 2023, let’s take a moment to review how to safely use fireworks and prevent eye injuries in the first place.

● Exercise extreme caution when allowing children to handle fireworks. Even sparklers, often considered “safe” for children, can cause serious injuries.

● Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities.

● Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

● Always wear eye protection when handling or viewing fireworks. Eye protection should be shatterproof and have side shields.

● Never set off fireworks near people, animals, or flammable materials.

● Always follow the instructions on the fireworks label.

If you or a member of your family experience an eye injury from fireworks, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. Even seemingly minor damage can lead to severe complications if not treated properly.

If someone suffers an eye injury, here are some tips on what to do:

● Do not rub your eye. Rubbing can irritate the eye and make the injury worse.

● Do not rinse the injured eye or apply any ointments to the eye area. If you do, it could increase damage and make it more difficult for a specialist to provide treatment.

● Cover the eye with a clean, dry cloth. Covering the eye will help protect it from further injury and keep it clean.

● Seek medical attention immediately. A doctor will be able to assess the severity of the injury and provide the appropriate treatment.

Fireworks can be a fun way to celebrate, but it is essential to be safe. Following these tips can help keep your family and friends safer this Fourth of July.

Dr. David Butler is with Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida) with offices throughout Lee County.

— familynews
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