FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — The 4th of July is typically a busy weekend for emergency rooms as they deal with fireworks injuries and drunken driving accidents.
In addition to ERs dealing with the pandemic, this year could be busier than usual due to more people setting off fireworks on their own.
Many public fireworks displays across Greater Houston have been cancelled due to COVID-19 and the Fort Bend Fire Marshall's Office anticipates more people than usual will be buying and lighting their own displays. That also means the chances of injuries goes up.
Ben Taub ER Dr. Theresa Tran says many of the injuries she sees are burn-related, often in kids.
"The most common one that we see has to do with hand injuries,” said Tran. She said she also sees injuries to the eyes and face. She stresses that burns in children often comes from fireworks that parents consider safe, like sparklers.
“Sparklers burn at 2000 degrees and they actually melt metal," Tran said. "You play with sparklers as a safe alternative to fireworks but in the wrong hands and in the hands of children, they can be very dangerous.”
Fire officials recommend always having a water source and eye protection near by when handling any kind of fireworks.
Something else that can be dangerous is not going to the ER when necessary due to COVID-19 concerns -- a trend Tran says they’re already seeing.
“That really can change the course of their outcome," she said. "An emergency is an emergency whether we are in the middle of a pandemic or not.”
Tran says ERs have safety precautions in place like separating possible coronavirus patients into their own area and a rigorous screening process before entering the building.
Tran and health officials in general, also recommend keeping 4th of July celebrations small to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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