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Memorial Health giving firework safety tips ahead of 4th of July holiday

Memorial Health (Source: WTOC)
Memorial Health (Source: WTOC)
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:01 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Fourth of July is less than a week away and many are planning to celebrate this weekend. It’s also a time when hospitals expect a rise in Emergency Room visits.

WTOC spoke with Doctor Jay Goldstein, the medical director of Memorial Health’s Emergency Department, who says July 4th can be a busy day for his staff, especially because of injuries from fireworks.

He says to avoid using fireworks if you’ve had drugs or alcohol and to leave high explosive types of fireworks to the professionals. He adds you should still make sure to use caution with all kinds of fireworks or firecrackers, even those that don’t explode.

“A lot of injuries we also see are with sparklers. People think that sparklers are very safe, but sparklers do burn at a pretty high temperature. We do see significant burns related,” said Dr. Goldstein.

A major concern for Independence Day: fireworks. Approximately 7,000 people nation-wide are treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries every year, according to the Georgia Insurance Commission. They also say up to 75 percent of those injuries occur in the four weeks surrounding Independence Day.

Memorial Health E.R. Medical Director Dr. Jay Goldstein’s advice?

“Our recommendation is if you’re going to use fireworks, use them safely. make sure you’re using them correctly, doing everything you can to handle them safely. make sure you don’t have drugs or alcohol around. and if you start using the ones with a significant more explosive type technology, we recommend leaving that to the professionals.”

Dr. Goldstein says to be mindful of alcohol intake this weekend, especially on or around the water.

“I can’t stress enough if you’re doing something dangerous- even swimming in a pool-is considered dangerous to us. When you start mixing it with drugs or alcohol, things of that nature, we see a significant preponderance, increased injuries. When you look at boating accidents or swimming or drowning incidents, firework injuries, things of that nature- you definitely see the increase of those types of injuries.”

Another concern for Dr. Goldstein? The summer heat.

“We recommend definitely staying hydrated before, during, and even after. Again if you start feeling even the utmost of dizzy, lightheaded, weak, or hot- you need to get out of the sun, get into a cool environment, cool yourself off quickly before that turns into what we would call heat stroke, which would be even more damaging.”

Dr. Goldstein’s main piece of advice is to stay aware and stay safe while having a good time.

“People are out and about. The weather is nice. People are out boating. The traffic is heavy on the waters. The traffic is heavy on the beach. People aren’t paying as much attention. That’s when untoward things happen to people is when you kind of take your eye off the ball.”

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