As we bid 2011 goodbye and welcome 2012 with glee and enthusiasm, let us all remember that celebrating the New Year’s Eve or media noche doesn’t need to be expensive and dangerous. That means the traditional hullabaloo made by fireworks or firecrackers freshly bought from Bocaue, Bulacan is not at all necessary as far as health issues are concerned. But as Filipino nurses, we all know that injuries are inevitable during this season that’s why we have to serve as agents of health by promoting safety through health education, information dissemination, and provision of first aid treatment if the situation requires us to. Here is a rundown of things we MUST know about fireworks/firecrackers.
1. The Department of Health (DOH) officially launched its firework-injury reduction campaign dubbed as “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction” or APIR (Give me five).
The five reminders to prevent harm and injury are: 1) mapanganib ang paggamit ng paputok (fireworks cause injuries and endanger health); 2) lahat ng paputok ay bawal sa bata (children should not use any fireworks); 3) umiwas sa mga taong nagpapaputok (keep safe and away from exploding fireworks); 4) Huwag mamulot ng mga di sumabog na paputok (never pick used fireworks); and, 5) Magpagamot kaagad kapag naputukan (seek immediate medical treatment for all firework injuries).
Ona added that the Filipino holiday celebration can always be complete and stress-free by following five simple tips. These are: 1) itaguyod at makilahok sa Community Fireworks Display (promote and participate in the community fireworks display in your area); 2) magdiwang nang ligtas kasama ang pamilya (celebrate a safe holiday with family and loved ones); 3) lumikha ng ingay gamit ang ibang paraan tulad ng torotot, busina, lata at iba pa (use alternative noise-makers to welcome the New Year like car horns, cans, pots and pans, radio music, etc); 4) makisaya sa ibang paraan tulad ng street party, concert, palaro at iba pa (join merry-making activities such as street parties, concerts, games); and, 5) magmuni-muni ng mga aral ng taong nakaraan at pag-isipan ang mga hakbanging tungo sa mas masaganang 2012 (use the time to reflect on the lessons of the past year and make resolutions for a better 2012). (Source: DOH)
2. Fireworks (through inhalation of smoke or ingestion of powder) LOWERS I.Q. and causes fetal anomalies/abnormalities for pregnant mothers exposed to it.
You read it right! Lead is the main chemical component of fireworks we usually enjoy during this season and medical studies are strong in pointing out its health hazards. Findings published in April in The New England Journal of Medicine strongly suggest not only that any amount of lead is harmful to a child’s brain but also that greater damage seems to occur at levels below 10 micrograms than above that. In other words, there is no threshold for lead’s effects on the brain, and just small amounts seem to have relatively large effects. If a blood level of, say, 15 micrograms can shave 2 points off a child’s IQ, then a level of 5 micrograms might reduce IQ by 5 points or more. (Source: www.futurepundit.com)
3. Health authorities strongly reminded the public that most cases of fireworks-related injuries come from the 1-10 years age group, totalling 330 cases or 34% of all injuries.
This group is followed by the 11-20 years age group in number of injuries. It was also found that cases reach their peak during December 31 and January 1. Furthermore, DOH statistics of last year’s holiday celebrations reveal that most injuries were due to piccolo, kwitis, five star, pla-pla, and luces.(Source: DOH)
4. FIRST AID MEASURES for fireworks/firecracker injuries:
Home First aid remedies:
1. For skin exposure, bathe the patient using alkaline soap (perla/ivory).
Pour cold water on the burned area of the skin to minimize tissue damage.
Paracetamol can reduce pain.
Ointment may also be applied.
Note: The usual practice of putting toothpaste on the burned area is not recommended.
2. If ingested, give egg whites (raw) immediately.
Do not eat anything except those eggs.
Lie down with side to the left.
3. For eye injury,
It’s best if you just left it the way it is as it may just worsen the injury
A big no-no in rubbing it,rinsing it, or even applying ointment
4. Bring the patient to the nearest hospital or refer the patient to the nearest Poison Control Center.
Specific precautionary measure:
1. DO NOT GIVE OILS.
2. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING OR DO GASTRIC LAVAGE.
3. AVOID OXYGEN, UNLESS INTUBATED; IT MAY TRIGGER EXPLOSION.