The downside to 4th of July celebrations

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 7/03 6:39 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Fireworks and picnics are Fourth of July traditions that sometimes results in a trip to the emergency room.

WDEF spoke to Dr. Marilyn Rogers at the emergency room in Erlanger North Hospital. She said fourth of July firework injuries send countless numbers of people to emergency rooms all over the country, including Erlanger North.

"Majority of injuries with fireworks are in the upper extremities, head and face. Certainly burns can occur," The doctor said.

Given the volatility of some fireworks, burns can range from minor to severe. Which is why people who purchase them are strongly advised to read the warning labels. But burns aren't the only injuries that come through these doors.

"The main things we see are eye injuries from fire works," Dr. Rogers said.

Experts say when certain fireworks explode, they cause flying projectiles to move at speeds fast enough to pierce the eye. That's why it's important to wear safety glasses if you're the one lighting the fuse.

In East Ridge, Phantom Fireworks put up a display to remind it's customers that fire works are dangerous and require lots of safety precautions. They even included two types of eye-ware in the display that focused on protection from flying projectiles.

Another problem that traditionally sends people to the E.R on the Fourth of July weekend is food poisoning. That grilled hamburger may look good, but if the meat isn't properly cooked or if hands were not washed during preparation, you could run into problems.

"Severe vomiting and diarrhea and that leads to dehydration," said Dr. Rogers.

But under-cooked meat and dirty hands aren't the only problems cause mild to severe stomach problems.

"If foods that are supposed to be cold or refrigerated are left out in the heat too long, they can certainly grow bacteria and make a person ill," said the doctor.

And no one wants to be ill or injured during a time of celebration.


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