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Health professionals warn about safety ahead of holiday fireworks

Tips for being safe around fireworks this July 4th weekend
Posted at 9:16 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 22:19:35-04

DE PERE — With the July 4th holiday weekend approaching, sales for fireworks are booming. Shopping center parking lots are now filled with pop-up tents selling various pyrotechnics.

While it's a busy time for holiday festivities, it's also a busy time for local fire departments and health officials. This time of year typically sees a rise in firework related burns and injuries in hospitals.

De Pere interim fire chief Ronald Cody said the biggest injury risk doesn't actually come from the largest fireworks.

"Oddly enough the sparklers are a great source of injury because young kids are usually handling those, they don't have gloves on, they don't have any eye protection, and that wire is incredibly hot," said Cody.

Melissa Kersten, a nurse practitioner at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee said she sees a lot of patients with injuries from sparklers and other fireworks.

"One of the biggest we see here in outpatient setting is sparkler burns, most of the time it's the parents actually that end up injured," said Kersten.

If an injury does occur due to fireworks, the best thing to do is act immediately to cool off the burn. While the first instinct might be to grab ice, Kersten says that's not a good idea.

"We never recommend ice because that can cause a deeper tissue injury to the skin," said Kersten.

After cooling off a burn, it's best to consult a health expert to determine if their needs to be a burn cream or bandaging applied.

When watching fireworks the best advice is to stay a safe distance from the launching point and wear protective gloves or eye wear if you are lighting the fireworks.