For most people it is part of New Year’s Eve: the loud, colorful fireworks at midnight. Every year, thousands of people in Germany ring in the new year with bangers and rockets. But that can get pretty dangerous. Again and again, revelers injure their hands on the fireworks. Prof. Dr. Jörg van Schoonhoven, chief physician at the clinic for hand surgery at the RHÖN-KLINIKUM Bad Neustadt campus, explains what you should definitely pay attention to when throwing firecrackers and what to do in an emergency.
While most people are now celebrating on New Year’s Eve
The emergency rooms of the hospitals are currently very busy. A responsible approach to health is all the more important. Every year the doctors have to treat numerous injuries caused by the fireworks at night. In addition to hearing and eye damage, it is hand injuries in particular that keep them on their toes. Burns, torn fingers, severed tendons, nerves and vessels: it is usually not a pretty sight that the doctors are presented with. And rescuing a badly injured hand is no easy feat. “Most of the time we have to perform several serious surgeries to save such a badly damaged hand,” explains Prof. van Schoonhoven. But it is seldom possible restore fingers and hands to their original state. In most cases, the injured have to cope with lifelong restrictions.
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you don’t have to do without the New Year’s fireworks, but the expert recommends handling the fireworks with care and heeding the following advice:
🚀 Buy fireworks only in specialist shops! Read the instructions for use carefully and also pay attention to the label that every legal firecracker carries. You should pay particular attention to the CE mark and the BAM number.
🚀 Only use firecrackers that don’t need to be lit by hand.
🚀 Do not use homemade or manipulated firecrackers. These often explode too early or stronger than expected.
🚀 Make sure the fireworks are stored safely. This means in particular: Never wear them directly on your body.
🚀 Hands off the fireworks after alcohol consumption.
🚀 Do not re-ignite fireworks that did not explode. Collect and discard these crackers. In this way you also protect children and young people who collect duds and set them on fire the next day.
Firecrackers should be taboo for children.
But what if, despite all precautions, something happens?
- In the case of minor burns, the first measure is: cooling. This works best under running water. But be careful! The water should not be too cold and you should also avoid cooling with ice. This can cause additional damage to the tissue.
- In the case of open wounds, you should ensure that they are kept as clean as possible, for example by using a sterile wound dressing. Since hand injuries often bleed profusely, compress the wound with a bandage if possible and see a doctor as soon as possible.
Basically, the expert advises:
If you injure your hand on a firework, you should definitely consult a hand surgeon.”. Because the specialists can guarantee the best care for the injured hand with their special expertise and experience.
The website www.handexperten.com of the German Society for Hand Surgery (DGH) will tell you where you can find a qualified hand surgeon in your area . “The website informs patients about hand injuries and supports them in finding a suitable expert,” explains Prof. van Schoonhoven. The chief physician is also general secretary of the DGH and is therefore committed to their campaign “Your hand deserves an expert”. “Our goal is to sensitize patients to diseases and injuries of the hand.
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