ROCHESTER, Minn. — A backyard fireworks display may look pretty and get family and friends excited, but when it comes to lighting fireworks, leave it to the professionals, Mayo Clinic physicians are advising. Each year, Mayo Clinic doctors see dozens of patients who have lost fingers and limbs, gotten severe burns and suffered hearing loss as a direct result of using fireworks. Even seemingly harmless fireworks — such as sparklers — can cause severe burns and even blindness.
MULTIMEDIA ALERT: For audio video of Dr. Jenkins talking about summer safety and a PSA video: "Saving Lives with Gus — Fireworks Safety", visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.
"People have a false sense of security when it comes to fireworks," says Donald Jenkins, M.D., a trauma physician at Mayo Clinic. "The reality is that often people are not a safe distance from exploding fireworks, or even worse, the firework actually ignites in their hand. These scenarios can lead to facial burns, eye injuries and amputation of fingers or the hand, especially among children."
Along with avoiding fireworks, here are some more tips for keeping your summer safe and injury free:
The good news is that summer injuries are nearly completely avoidable, Dr. Jenkins says.
"If you go out and ride your motorcycle too fast and you're not wearing a helmet and the proper protective equipment; if you're intoxicated and climbing up a ladder; if you're not watching your child around the lawn mower, those aren't accidents," he says. "Those are injuries that were preventable."