Revelers urged to refrain from using firecrackers

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

BLAST injuries from firecrackers are intentional because the people were forewarned for the longest time, said Charles Marquez, an emergency medicine doctor and a surgeon assigned in J.R. Borja hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.

“The best thing people can do is to refrain from using firecrackers this New Year’s Eve,” he said.

He said a total of 140 fireworks-related injuries were reported by sentinel hospitals as of December 27, 2003.

Marquez said there is a 3 percent increase of fireworks-related injuries compared with the last five years’ average.

He added that 44 percent of the cases were from the National Capital Region and 12 percent came from Northern Mindanao region (17 cases).

Unlucky ones

“For those who will be unlucky enough to get injured from firecracker blasts, the first thing to do is pull the injured out from the place where the incident took place,” Marquez said.

Marquez added that it would also be wise to take the patient to a nearby hospital or to any open health facility for immediate medication and first-aid.

However, in cases where the patient is far from any health facility, it is best to wash the injured part with running water.

“If bleeding occurs, applying pressure might do the trick,” he added.

After applying first-aid, Marquez said, patients must be brought to a health facility that is capable of trauma evaluation and management.

He said it is necessary for the expert doctors to determine if the injury of the patient needs suturing or reconstructive surgeries.

“The doctors in health facilities will also determine if a patient needs anti-tetanus shots,” Marquez furthered.

‘Watusi’ ingestion

On ‘Watusi’ ingestion, Marquez said swallowing egg whites can be used as first-aid. Watusi is a firecracker usually preferred by minors.

He added that egg whites will serve as a protector of internal organs.

“It will protect the gastrointestinal tract from damages,” he said.

He furthered that for children, four to five eggs will do. But on adults, eight to 12 eggs is needed for first-aid.

“After applying first-aid, it would be very best to send the patient to the nearest health facility which is capable in dealing with firecracker-related injuries,” said Marquez.

The number of revelry-related injuries rose to 244 as of Monday morning, with more than 60 percent of fireworks injuries due to piccolo, the Department of Health said.

National Epidemiology Center head Dr. Enrique Tayag said that as of 6 a.m. Monday, 244 firework-related injuries were recorded.

He said these included 238 injuries from fireworks, one from firework ingestion, and five from stray bullets.

Of the 238 injuries from fireworks, Tayag noted 153 or 64 percent were from piccolo.

Tayag also said the number of injuries was greater than in 2012.
During the same period in 2012, Tayag said there were 188 revelry-related injuries, including 185 from fireworks, one from fireworks ingestion, and two from stray bullets. (With report from Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 31, 2013.

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