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Fireworks Injuries

Posted Nov 24 2008 2:49am

Today, the Department of Health (DOH) launched this year’s “FOURmula KONTRA PAPUTOK” – a campaign for the prevention of fireworks/firecrackers injuries and deaths.

Injuries and deaths become synonymous with the New Year’s celebration in the country. Last year was no different - a total of 869 injuries were recorded by 50 sentinel sites throughout the country based on the data collected by the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) from December 21, 2007 to January 5, 2008. The only consolation was that this figure is 33% (437 cases) lower than 2006 and 18% (191 cases) lower than the previous three years average. But still, this is nothing to feel good about.

Of the total reported cases, 434 (50%) of these injuries happened on New Year’s Eve. The National Capital Region (NCR) had the highest proportion of cases reported, 603 (69%), followed by Region 1 (Ilocos Region) - 63 (7%) and Region VI (Western Visayas) - 62 (7%). The City of Manila 253 (42%) and Quezon City, 105 (17%) had the most number of cases in NCR.

Ages of cases ranged from 16 weeks to 84 years old (median 15 years). Majority (80%) were males, and 305 (35%) cases were children, 10 years of age and younger.

The total injuries were further broken down into 853 (98%) fireworks-related, 14 (2%) stray-bullet injuries and 2 (0.23%) watusi/firecracker powder ingestion. Three (3) deaths were reported - one died due to watusi (a kind of sparklers) poisoning and two died from non-neonatal tetanus secondary to fireworks injuries.

Fireworks injuries are further classified into the type of injury, namely: blast burn injuries without amputation (633 cases or 74%); blast injuries with amputation (61 or 7%); and eye injuries (159 or 19%). The top five firecrackers that caused amputations were pla-pla, whistle bomb, 5-star, triangle, and kwitis. Meanwhile the implicated firecrackers that caused eye injuries were piccolo, luces, kwitis, 5-star, and whistle bomb.

To further reduce, if not totally eliminate, firework injuries in the country, the DOH recommends the banning of the use of fireworks in residential areas. Advocacy is also needed to prompt lawmakers to amend Republic Act 7183 or an Act regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and Other Pyrotechnic Devices, particularly on updating the list of legal and illegal fireworks that is attuned with the present times. Moreover, health promotion campaigns should include and intensify the dangers of tetanus, where fatalities are most likely to happen due to fireworks injuries that had not been promptly and properly treated.

This is an important health campaign that I also posted it in HEALTH DOSE.

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