ER physician gives insight into 4th of July injuries - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

ER physician gives insight into 4th of July injuries

WATERLOO (KWWL)--- It's hard to believe but the Fourth of July will soon be here.  We talked with a local physician about the most common injuries people get from fireworks during this holiday and how you can avoid getting hurt.

Reporter: It seems like every year someone gets hurt shooting off fireworks.  So tell me a little bit about the common injuries you see over this holiday weekend in the emergency room.

Dr. Paul Franke, Wheaton Franciscan Medical Affairs Vice President:  Well the most common accidents have to do with burns, burns and fires.  Occasionally we'll have actual tissue damage from somebody holding firecrackers or cherry bombs from out of state, since they're illegal here.  Between burns and eye injuries and soft tissue with the hands, we stay busy.

Reporter:  We're not allowed to have much here for fireworks in Iowa, but even little sparklers can cause injuries.  So what advice do you have for people to avoid getting hurt?

Dr. Franke:  Number one, it's important to know that sparklers burn over one thousand degrees Fahrenheit.  And second, particularly little children aren't coordinated enough to really handle anything dangerous, and we have to view sparklers as highly dangerous.  They can cause tremendous burns.  So the advice is not to let kids, particularly little ones, wave sparklers around.  It looks cute, and it's a really nice moment to capture, but we really need to avoid that.  We just need to watch.

Reporter:  And if you do have some of those fireworks and light them off in your back yard, and end up having a mishap, how important is it to get medical attention and not down play it?

Dr. Franke:  It's absolutely vital, particularly with eye injuries and burns.  You need to seek medical attention immediately.  I think the pain associated with these injuries is so intense, you will seek medical attention.  But it is absolutely imperative.  You know all kinds of complications and scarring occurs.  Scars, burns, loss of vision--permanent injuries--are attributed to fireworks every year.  Some of that is due to the lack of medical attention.  Sadly, in spite of what we do in terms of medical care, you can still have permanent injuries.  At least we can minimize the injury or disability related to it.  So you're absolutely right.  Get medical attention.  Don't minimize these injuries.  Just go to the fireworks shows, please.  That's my best advice. 

Hopefully these tips will give you a safe and happy Fourth of July.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek

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