Serious injuries in a blink: Hand surgeon warns against trend toward fireworks at home

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Many cities and towns have canceled public fireworks shows tomorrow due to the pandemic.

If you feel tempted to light your own, a local hand surgeon urges you to think twice, and think about the dangers.

Hand surgeons, ophthalmologists, trauma doctors are the ones who see the majority of fireworks-related injuries.

They say the explosives, and even sparklers can cause a lot of damage in just seconds.

Fourth of July this year will be missing it's usual flare... many fireworks shows are canceled.

But the firework business is booming, with sales up 115% compared to this time last year., as people are really taking celebrations into their own hands.

Dr. Rick Tosti, a hand surgeon with Philadelphia Hand to Shoulder Centers, says don't underestimate the dangers.

"I think the thing to keep in mind with fireworks is that they're explosives," says Dr. Tosti.

He says even though they look soft and pretty in the air, fireworks generate an extreme amount of heat and force.

Even sparklers can cause serious injuries.

"Which we think of as being sort of innocent and in the hands of a child. But sparklers actually burn at a temperature of about 1200 degrees Fahrenheit," notes Dr. Tosti.

Injuries from sparklers, bottle rockets and other explosives range from burns to mangled fingers to amputation.

A common cause: misjudging the timing or getting too close

"So sometimes people will light the firework, and the spark will go out, and they think there's nothing happening and they walk close to it to check it, and that's when it goes off," he says.

Remember to keep all fireworks away from children.

As for teens and adults, anything high energy is better left to the professionals.
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