On the 4th of July, Marissa Keane, a former Project Manager in the Marketing Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), was looking forward to relaxing with friends and family at a celebration in a nearby state. Instead, her evening ended with second-degree burns and a visit to an urgent care center.
During the festivities, someone standing near Marissa began waving a sparkler. The motion cast off a spark onto Marissa’s clothing, which were made of flammable material. Fortunately, Marissa noticed what happened before her blouse completely ignited. Still, she suffered a serious burn on her chest that required medical treatment.
Marissa’s experience is an important reminder about the dangers of sparklers, an iconic symbol of July 4th celebrations. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks-related injuries result in an average of 240 daily visits to the emergency room in the thirty days surrounding the July 4th holiday. Nearly one-third of these injuries are due to sparklers. That’s not surprising when you consider that sparklers can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fireworks are banned in Massachusetts, though you may be traveling to a state where sparklers and other fireworks are allowed. Dr. Raghu Seethala, Associate Director of Trauma in the Emergency Department at BWH, offers these tips to avoid injuries from sparklers or fireworks: