Diwali First Aid: Handy Tips To Manage Burns This Firework Season


Fireworks burn at the same temperature at which a household matchstick burns and can cause fatal injuries if not handled with caution. The bottle rockets and the sparklers are the worst offenders with regards to fireworks-related injury while the face and hands are the most commonly affected body parts. Different types of injuries due to fireworks are:

  1. Burns
  2. Lacerations and abrasions
  3. Loss of sight

The following is a description of the most common firework-related sites of injury and the percentage of injuries for the different ages, the most common being children between the ages of 10 and 16 years.

Sites of injury Age groups most commonly affected
Head and Face 0-6 years 15%
Eyes 7-10 years  12%
Hands and Fingers 10-16 years 17%
Torso 17-21 years 14%
Legs 22 years and over  40%

First Aid Kit

While barring a child from bursting any crackers is not a very happy scenario, what you can do is make a first aid kit right at home. Keep a first aid kit handy in case of a medical emergency when you step out to burst crackers. It can be used for various purposes and must contain various items as follows:

  • Band-Aids
  • Sterile gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Disposable gloves
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Over the counter medications such as
    • Hydrocortisone cream 1%
    • Ibuprofen
    • Paracetamol/Acetaminophen
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Calamine lotion

Some pointers to be safe this Diwali

  1. Buy your fireworks from reputed and legal stores and obey the rules and regulations of your city regarding their use
  2. Do not let a child operate the fireworks by themselves, make sure a responsible adult is supervising at all time as fireworks have been known to backfire or shoot off in the wrong direction
  3. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks specifically the rockets or sparklers
  4. Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away
  5. Do not use fireworks indoors, or in a confined space. Light them in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles
  6. Never reignite a washed out firework. Wait for 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
  7. Always have a bucket of water or charged water hose nearby
  8. Never carry fireworks in your pocket or throw them into metal or glass containers
  9. Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
  10. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down. Place them in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day
  11. Never hover over the firework while igniting it
  12. Light the firework from a safe distance and back track immediately
  13. Do not point or throw fireworks at a person

What to do if you get burned

  1. Put out the fire as soon as possible
  2. Get away from the source
  3. If the eyes get injured then-
    • Contact the emergency department immediately
    • Do not rub your eyes
    • Do not rinse your eyes or apply pressure
    • Do not apply any gel or ointment
    • Do not take any blood thinning pain medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin
    • Do not try to remove any objects that are stuck in the eye(s)

Treating fireworks burns are just like treating any other burns. In case of minor burns from sparklers, apply cold water and put a bandage dressing to cover the burn and allow it to heal. You can also apply healing antiseptic creams if recommended by your doctor. For burns that are more severe, they need to be handled by healthcare professionals. Always visit a doctor at the earliest and seek appropriate care.

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