Well Being

The Health Hazards Of Fireworks: It’s Not Just Burns, Beware Of Shrapnel

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Let's get the Debbie Downer news out of the way early in the morning. I think that's the best way to get this out there before we all move on to barbecuing and drinking lemonade.

A new study is out that looks at the second biggest health hazard of fireworks. We all know about the burns. Who hasn't been hit with a sparkler at some point in their life? But man are they worth it. Even with your mom hovering over you and reminding you every 15 seconds to be careful, sparklers are so worth it.

Sorry I got distracted. There's another injury from fireworks that doesn't seem to be as well-known as sparkler burns. A group of researchers got together to look at the eye injuries created by fireworks. There are approximately 2000 eye injuries every year on the 4th of July, ranging from corneal abrasions (or scratches on your eyeball that are painful, but heal on their own) to loss of vision. For years, relatively little was known about how these injuries were occurring. Two schools of thought argued that the injuries either came from the pressure of the firework blast, or projectiles hitting the eye itself.

Now, Stefan Duma has presented research in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that the cause of eye injuries while setting off fireworks is the shrapnel that comes from the blast. He mostly debunked the idea that the pressure from the explosives could injure eyes, which would have been very difficult to prevent. But Duma's research shows that the simple use of safety goggles while setting off a fireworks display would be extremely effective. “If you remove the projectile, you dramatically reduce the risk,” he told Reuters Health.

So, you heard it here folks. For a safe and enjoyable fireworks display, those getting near the blast-off point should be wearing safety goggles. It might not be the best fashion statement to match your BBQ attire, but it'll be a lot trendier than a trip to the ER. We should be thankful this issue has such an easy fix. I'm still looking for a way to keep myself safe from sparkler burns.

(Photo: DonaldBowers/Shutterstock)