The holiday season is here again and so are firecrackers and fireworks and the accidents which arise from their use. Despite the government's efforts to ban the use of firecrackers, the emergency room is still jam-packed with firecracker/fireworks-related injuries during this season.
Immediate action on burns
Burns due to firecrackers/fireworks, if minor, are treated like any other burn injury. It is important to minimize tissue damage as fast as possible by reducing the temperature of the burned skin.
If a person's clothing catches fire, he or she should lie down and the flames should be put out by smothering with a heavy material. Or make the person lie down on his burning side.
Remember, running only spreads the fire and should be discouraged.
What to do with the burned area
Cool the burned area by gently pouring cold water over it or by holding it under running cold water for at least ten minutes. After cooling has been done, gently remove any covering from the burnt area.
Remove any jewelry which may potentially constrict the affected area if swelling sets in.
Applying lotion or butter or toothpaste to the burned area is useless and unacceptable.
Cooling the skin with water may be done repeatedly to relieve pain.
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It is important to prevent infection of the burned area by covering it with sterile dressing to avoid touching it and so as not to prick the blisters.
Burn ointment (e.g. silver sulfadiazine) may be applied to prevent infection.
Paracetamol or Ibuprofen can be taken to relieve the pain.
If the burn is extensive and if any body part is cut or amputated due to the injury, immediate medical help is necessary. In this case, the affected area should be washed/ cooled then wrapped in a clean, non fluffy material during transport.
These are useful tips on what to do with burn injuries, but as the old adage goes: Prevention is better than cure. It is better to stick to trumpets or other party poppers which are non-explosive to celebrate the holidays rather than to risk suffering from injuries which can cost you your limbs or even your lives.