The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

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July 3, 2014

July 4th fun reveals hidden health hazards

PALESTINE — With everyone gearing up to grill some backyard burgers and watch the fireworks fly this July 4th, medical professionals are reminding citizens to be careful, as accidents and injuries tend to increase over the holiday.

Fireworks, swimming pools and the sweltering temperatures all have been known to put a damper on the good times, according to information provided by American Family Care (AFC).

The July temperatures alone account for an increase in heat-related illness cases, such as heat exhaustion or stroke, while injuries caused from swimming or lighting fireworks present their own hazards.


At Fault with Fireworks

While fireworks make up a huge part of the fun during any July 4th celebration, the mishandling of them, as well as the use of illegal fireworks, can lead to problems landing citizens in their local doctor's office once the lights burn out.

According to a study released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), eight deaths were caused by fireworks-related accidents in the United States in 2013, and approximately 11,400 individuals sustained injuries from such accidents.

Most of these injuries were reported to be caused from banned, illegal or homemade devices, and on average, 65 percent of injuries occurred in the month framing the Independence Day holiday, from June 21 to July 21.

On the greatest hits list, doctors reported seeing a lot of hand, finger and eye injuries caused by improper handling of fireworks. For this reason, doctors say the safest way to enjoy them is at a professional display.

If local residents should opt to set up their own legal display, however, a fire extinguisher or a hose connected to a water source should be kept nearby, which can be used to put out fires in the event of a firework-related accident.

Additionally, children should be kept away from fireworks at all times, since children under age 5 were most likely to be injured by fireworks, according to the CPSC study.

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