North Central Florida-area hospital ERs prepare for July 4th injury cases

Press release from HCA Florida North Florida Hospital

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The July 4th holiday promises to be another busy time for North Central Florida-area hospital emergency rooms, fueled in large part by those who mishandle fireworks or ignite them while impaired by alcohol or drugs.

“We’ll see injuries caused by firecrackers that explode in close range and from sparklers that, when mishandled, cause severe burns to the face, hands, and feet,” said Dr. Gary Gillette, an emergency medicine physician at HCA Florida North Florida Hospital.

While injuries are caused by the misuse of various fireworks types, firecrackers and sparklers are often most associated with emergency department-treated injuries, Gillette added.

Firecrackers can cause injuries to the hands or face if they explode at close range or while still being held. Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees — hot enough to melt metal — and can quickly cause severe burns to the face, hands, and feet. Sparklers can also cause eye injuries from their sparks.

A 2022 U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report on fireworks injuries and deaths shows adults ages 25-44 accounted for about 36 percent of fireworks-related injuries in the month surrounding the July 4th holiday of that year. Children under 15 accounted for 28 percent of fireworks-related injuries during that same time frame. Fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,200 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2022, although doctors agree the actual number of fireworks injuries is much greater, considering not everyone injured seeks care.

“Our advice is simple – have fun over the holiday but leave the fireworks to the experts,” Gillette said.

Fireworks Safety Tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands and do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks.
  • Consider safer alternatives to sparklers for children, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers, or colored streamers.

HCA Florida North Florida Hospital has five emergency room locations conveniently located in the north central Florida community for easy access: HCA Florida Millhopper Emergency, HCA Florida West End Emergency, HCA Florida Gainesville Emergency, HCA Florida Starke Emergency, and the main emergency room located at the HCA Florida North Florida Hospital campus on Newberry Road. Visit HCAFloridaHealthcare.com to see which emergency room is closest to you.

  • Kudos to the healthcare professionals, at least they appear to know there’s a bunch of idiots in North Central Florida.

    • The nurses and physicians in the ER are to be honored for helping those idiots who buy fireworks for their children.

  • Fireworks stands in Florida should be banned. Look at the ER visits for children alone. There are many places to view professional fireworks shows.

  • Joe Dirt would disapprove seeing as ‘all you got are snakes and sparklers’… where’s the good stuff??

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