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Pores: Stay out of the St. John ER this New Year’s Eve

From parties, gifts and quality time with loved ones during the winter holidays — it’s a festive time to look forward to.

The grand finale is New Year’s Eve and the fireworks displays that often accompany it.

While many people consider fireworks to be harmless fun, they can actually be quite dangerous, especially for children and teens.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 200 people visit the ER with fireworks-related injuries on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Common injuries are burns, and nearly half of these incidents involve people’s hands and fingers.

Ring in the New Year safely by following these fireworks safety tips from the Ochsner Health System Emergency Department:

• Viewing public fireworks displays by professionals is the safest way to enjoy fireworks and even then, it’s important to keep a safe distance away.

Remember to keep a distance of at least 500 feet away or up to a quarter of a mile from where they are being set off.

• Check if fireworks are legal in your area and obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.

• Only buy fireworks from reputable dealers and read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting fireworks.

• Never pick up or relight a “dud” firework. Instead, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

• Remember – supervision is key. Only experienced adults should be using fireworks.

• Never give fireworks (including sparklers) to children and do not consume alcohol when using fireworks. Sparklers are the most common cause of injury to children aged 5 and younger.

• Dress for the occasion. Avoid wearing loose fitting clothing and protect your eyes with safety glasses.

• Do not stand over fireworks while lighting them.

Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.

• Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area. Stay away from buildings and vehicles. Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby.

• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

Remember – safety comes first when it comes to fireworks.

Seek immediate medical attention for any major injuries sustained.

For small (quarter-sized) and minor burns, wash with cool water, pat dry and cover with triple-antibiotic ointment.

Do not use ice as this may cause blistering.

Noah Pores is an emergency physician and is the medical director for Ochsner Medical Complex-River Parishes. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. He completed an Emergency Medicine Residency from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, NJ. Dr. Pores is a member of the following professional organizations: American College of Emergency Physicians, Emergency Medicine Resident’s Association and the Critical Care Section, American College of Emergency Physicians. For more information, please call 985-652-7000.