Prepare for a Safe Independence Day Celebration with Tips from the Burn Center at Swedish Medical Center
Independence Day is known for fireworks displays of all types and many are looking forward to gathering in a few weeks to celebrate. This 4th of July, Dr. Benson Pulikkottil, Medical Director of the Burn and Reconstructive Center at Swedish Medical Center wants to ensure everyone is prepared to stay safe with some burn safety tips.
“The warm weather is back, the long weekend is here, and it’s time to celebrate our independence,” said Dr. Pulikkottil. “As we take to the outdoors, I want to remind everyone to wear sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to avoid sun burns and sun poisoning. But, when the sun goes down, please remember to control your alcohol intake and supervise your children while grilling or handling fireworks.”
Every Fourth of July, hospitals and clinics across the country see a rise in patients with firework related injuries, a majority of whom are children and teenagers.
The mishandling or misuse of fireworks, along with improperly discarded hot debris, are among the most common hazards when it comes to burn injuries to the hands, legs, or head.
When handling fireworks remember to:
- Set up the firework on a flat surface to reduce the risk of tipping over.
- Educate children on proper firework etiquette: Don’t get too close and don’t touch.
- Closely monitor children when they have sparklers.
- Avoid re-lighting, leaning over, or picking up a “dud.” The firework is still live and has the potential to detonate.
“Fireworks are dangerous in every stage: when they ignite, when they don’t ignite, and even when they’re nothing but debris. A few simple precautions can make the day a lot safer, such as: Never throwing used fireworks into a fire, always assuming debris is hot, and dousing dud fireworks to prevent them from firing later,” he said. “And remember, it’s never a bad idea to attend a professional display instead.”
If you or a loved one suffer a minor burn this holiday, Dr. Pulikkottil advises that you:
- Do not apply ice. Instead, cool the burn with tepid water for at least five minutes.
- Do not apply home remedies such as butter or oils.
- Do not use cotton balls or wool to clean the burn.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen, as needed for pain.
- Do not burst any blisters. Instead, cover the burn in a loose fitting dry, sterile bandage.
- Remove all jewelry from the burned area when it is safe to do so.
“When in doubt, get it checked out. A burn can worsen over the first 24 hours, progressing from a minor burn to a severe burn. If you notice blistered or charred skin, seek a burn expert immediately,” said Dr. Pulikkottil. For more safety tips on how to avoid burn injuries at home and at work throughout the year, visit https://burncenters.com/community-resources/.
Swedish Medical Center is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 110 years. An acute care hospital with 408 licensed beds, annually Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of approximately 2,000 dedicated employees, 300 volunteers and 1,400 physicians.
With stroke door to treatment times averaging just 20 minutes, Swedish serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for the most advanced stroke treatment and was the state’s first Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. Swedish also serves as the region’s neurotrauma and orthopedic trauma provider and is a level I trauma facility with a dedicated burn and reconstructive center. Over 150 facilities regularly transfer highly complex cases to Swedish.
Swedish Medical Center is proud to be a part of the HCA Healthcare’s Continental Division, which includes HealthONE, named the #1 large hospital system in the United States by IBM Watson Health as part of the 15 Top Health Systems recognition process. And, as the #7 corporate philanthropist in the Denver-metro area, and the only hospital system in the top 10, HealthONE contributed more than $1.6 million in 2019 and supports over 150 organizations through cash and in-kind donations. Additional information is available at SwedishHospital.com.