Health Check: Preventing heat or fireworks-related injuries

The week of the Fourth of July is always busy in emergency rooms across southern New England. (WJAR)

The week of the Fourth of July is always busy in emergency rooms across southern New England.

In all, about 100 people were seen between last Saturday and Independence Day at all four Lifespan hospitals for heat or fireworks-related injuries.

"There were only a handful of fireworks-related injuries over the past few days, but we saw some pretty serious burns from sparklers," said Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, who is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and injury researcher at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

"Sparklers seem very benign and I think people think that they're very harmless, but they can actually heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and they can be very dangerous in the hands of children or in people who are careless -- even drinking,” Zonfrillo said.

Most of the injuries, Zonfrillo said, included sunburns worthy of being seen in the ER.

"You can see very severe sunburns, almost getting second degree burns with blistering, which can be very painful,” said Zonfrillo. "We also saw some heat-related passing out from just people being absolutely exhausted. Certainly, the Fourth was a very hot day. We saw a number of people from the Bristol parade who had heat-related illness and injury because they were wearing costumes and they were marching out in the hot sun.”

He added that it’s important to make sure that everyone is staying hydrated, using sunscreen, as well as wearing covering clothing.

“You want to make sure that the most vulnerable population, including the elderly, young children and the sick, are particularly cared for,” Zonfrillo said.

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