And The Finger’s Red Glare: 4th of July Firework Safety

Celebrate and Play it Safe

The Fourth of July is approaching, and with it, the time-honored American tradition of playing with explosive things where the emphasis is more on spectacle than on safety. It’s a tradition that goes back 239 years.

We set off small explosions on the Fourth of July because John Adams wanted us to. Before the Declaration of Independence was signed, he wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail that the occasion should be celebrated “with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” The first Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777.

So, since the 18th century, doctors have been dealing with burns, ear and eye injuries and other firework accidents the first week of July. If you need Remedy Urgent Care to come over and provide you with a post-holiday patch up, we’re happy too, but we prefer that you don’t get injured in the first place. Be patriotic and responsible this Fourth of July and practice proper firework safety.

Firework Safety Tips

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers, houses and
    flammable materials.
  • Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
  • Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks; douse and soak them
    with water and discard them safely.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in
    case of fire.

Keep An Eye On The Tweens

Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are three times more likely to sustain a fireworks injury than the rest of the population, according to the National Safety Council. This should come as no surprise to parents.

Got Burned? Quickly Size it Up.

Does the burn appear to be a first, second or third-degree burn?

  1. First-degree burns are on the outer layer of the skin. They may cause pain, redness, and/or swelling.
  2. Second-degree burns affect both the outer and underlying layer of skin. Pain, redness, swelling, and/or blistering may result.
  3. Third-degree burns affect the deep layers of skin. They appear as white or blackened, burned skin and may be numb.

What Quick First Aid Can I Use on Minor Burns?

Most first-degree burns and many second-degree burns that are smaller than two inches wide may be treated with first aid. (These are typically classified as “minor burns” by physicians.)

First Aid for Burns:

  1. Calm and reassure the injured person.
  2. Run cool water over the area of the burn or soak it in a cool water bath (and not ice water). Don’t put butter on it! That is an old wives’ tale.
  3. A clean, cold, wet towel will help reduce pain too.
  4. After flushing or soaking the burn with water, cover it with a dry, sterile bandage or clean dressing. This will protect the burn from pressure and friction.
  5. Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain and swelling. Note: do not give aspirin to children under 12.
  6. Once cooled, put moisturizing lotion or aloe vera on the skin to help soothe it.
  7. Many minor burns will usually heal without further treatment.
  8. If the family member with the burn has not had a tetanus shot recently, now is a good time to get one. Generally, children start receiving the vaccination at 2 months of age and the series of five shots is usually completed by age five. After those first series of shots, older children and adults should receive a booster shot every 10 years. Remedy can administer tetanus shots right at your home.  
  9. Don’t peel off blisters on a burn. The blistered skin provides a natural covering to the tissue underneath. You can poke a hole in the blister with a sterile needle to drain the fluid and relieve pressure.
  10. As the blister peels off naturally, apply a topical antibiotic like Polysporin to the area. You should trim off the peeling skin as it sloughs off.

When Should I See A Doctor About A Burn?

Seeing a doctor right away after a burn can help prevent scarring, disability, and deformity. Burns on the face, hands, feet and genitals can be particularly serious.

Importantly, children under age four and adults over age 60 have a higher chance of complications and death from severe burns because their skin tends to be thinner than others. Also, anyone with a chronic disease like diabetes or liver disease should be evaluated, as their burns are more likely to become infected.

See a doctor as soon as possible for severe or major burns, including the following:

  • All potential third-degree burns;
  • Second-degree burns more than 2-3 inches wide; and
  • Second-degree burns on the hands, feet, face, groin, buttocks, or a major joint.

Remedy Urgent Care doctors are on the job this holiday weekend. Our regular hours are 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. – 7 days a week, including Independence Day. Call Us and we’ll come to you within 90 minutes, Austin-area families. We wish you a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Book an appointment today!