MetroWest Medical Center wishes our community a safe July 4th holiday by providing safety reminders.
“We all enjoy celebrating summer holiday time whether grilling out, swimming, engaging in sports activities, or watching fireworks displays,” said Dr. Lisa Sotir, Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine. “Stay safe this summer with these friendly reminders and tips. But, if you need emergency medical care, we are ready to help you at MetroWest Medical Center’s emergency department.”
Although fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts for homeowners, they are legal to purchase and use in New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island. It’s best to leave the fireworks to the professionals that manage the beautiful displays on behalf of local cities and towns.
Fireworks are dangerous to play with and if not handled properly, they can cause severe injuries to eyes and skin. Even (Massachusetts banned) sparklers and firecrackers send thousands to the emergency room each year. If injured from fireworks, seek medical attention immediately.
Here are 12 fireworks safety tips:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Obey local laws. If they are not legal where you live, don’t use them.
- Only adults should be allowed to light any type of fireworks. Never allow young children to play with fireworks and supervise older children with sparklers closely. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always have water handy (a hose or bucket). Douse used fireworks with plenty of water before discarding.
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter or combine them.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter, and the shooter should wear safety glasses. Light fireworks one at a time and then step back.
- Don’t ever place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device.
- Don’t point or throw fireworks at another person – no horsing around.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a ‘designated shooter.’
- Do not ever use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives – they can kill. Report illegal explosives to the fire and police department in your community.
- Don’t buy fireworks packaged in brown paper because this could be a sign that the fireworks are for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumers.
Practice good food safety techniques when grilling or cooking outside by following these food safety tips:
- Use different plates for raw and cooked meat.
- Don’t leave food out in the sun for more than two hours to avoid food-borne illness that cause food poisoning.
- Ensure that mayonnaise-based foods are kept on ice or inside a cooler in between serving.
- Make sure grilled meats are thoroughly cooked by using a meat thermometer.
- Whether on a picnic or cooking outdoors, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
- Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
See a doctor promptly if food poisoning symptoms are severe such as bloody diarrhea, high fever (temperature over 102 degrees F), vomiting where fluids cannot stay down, dehydration, and diarrhea that lasts more than three days.
Often, we forget how strong and damaging the sun can be. Protect yourself with these sun safety tips:
- Wear sun protection. Everyone from children to older adults should use sunscreen to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. Make sure to reapply. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection (commonly labeled as broad-spectrum protection), a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher that is water resistant.
- Talk with your physician about prescription medicine that may make your skin more sun sensitive.
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours when the sun is hottest.
- Wear protective clothing to protect exposed skin, a hat with wide brim to provide shade and sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB rays.
- Stay hydrated with water and don’t stay out in the sun all day. Take activity or swimming breaks in the shade.
MetroWest Medical Center’s Emergency Department is conveniently located in downtown Framingham at 115 Lincoln Street, Framingham, MA.