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How To Treat Fireworks Burns

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Last year, nearly 13,000 injuries from fireworks were treated in U.S. hospitals. Eight people actually died, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Do you know what to do if you do get hurt by a firework? We went to a local doctor for some advice.

"People get shot with these fireworks and actually can cause some serious injury. In some cases people have even lost eyes or worst case scenario is people have actually died of some firework injuries. So it can be serious," said Blake Gustafson, Sanford Emergency Physician. 

Brian Gustafson has been working as an emergency room doctor for over a decade. His first word of advice is to make sure you get away from the source of a burn or injury immediately.

Stop, drop and roll still works. 

"The longer it's burning on the skin, the deeper it can go," said Gustafson. 

Next, evaluate how bad the burn really is. There are three degrees of burns: first degree is a red mark without any blistering. Those can usually be treated at home with cool water and topical antibiotics. 

Second degree burns do cause blistering on the skin, and can sometimes be treated at home but need extra attention.

"Areas of major concern are any burns to the face, or mouth or nose. Those are injuries that we always want to see because it could be an inhalation injury," said Gustafson. 

The worst burns are third degree. Those should always be seen by a doctor immediately.

"And a lot of times those are actually kind of white and leathery looking, and they can actually be painless. So a lot of people don't think the burn is that bad, when in fact it's very deep and very severe," said Gustafson. 

So before you hand your kid a sparkler or bottle rocket, be sure you know the risks involved. 

"People are out having a good time in their neighborhood, and fireworks can be really fun but they also need to be respected. There's always an accident waiting to happen somewhere," said Gustafson. 

Sparklers may seem safe, but they're actually one of the most common causes of injury. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue tell us sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees. They can also catch people's clothes on fire creating a bigger problem.


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