Doctors warn to be careful with fireworks, food this July 4th holiday

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- As your Independence Day parties get going, there are some things to remember in order to make sure your good time, stays a safe time, too.

More than 12,000 people ended up in the hospital around July 4 last year, dealing with any number of injuries or illnesses related to the holiday. However, it doesn’t have to be like that, doctors say, if you’re just careful and use common sense.

Getting sewn back together probably isn’t on most peoples’ July 4th to-do list, but every year, thousands end up in the hospital with burns or worse from fireworks, many under the age of 18.

“Children should never be lighting fireworks without adult supervision,” said Captain Mike Pruitt of the Wayne Township Fire Department.

But beyond the patriotic pyrotechnics, there’s other dangers that don’t often get the attention that fireworks do, but are just as serious.

“People who are more sensitive to the heat and pretty much any illness this time of year are the very young and the older patients,” said Dr. David Toro at Eskenazi Hospital.

He says those age groups should be even more careful when the temperature is high.

“Especially if they have any chronic diseases like hypertension, heart diseases, lung diseases, they can be more sensitive to the effects of the weather,” said Toro.

He says everyone needs to stay hydrated, and avoid sugary drinks which can hasten a body’s dehydration. That goes for alcohol, too.

“In general, the body will tell you, if you don’t feel well,” said Toro, “I recommend you come to the hospital and get evaluated.”

Burns are also a common problem, usually from fireworks or holiday cooking—some of which can be deceiving.

“Even if you think it’s minor, it may be deeper than you would expect,” said Toro.

Something else to consider: the food you’re eating. Make sure your meats are cooked to safe temperatures, and don’t leave things sitting out in the sun too long; especially dairy, fatty or mayonnaise-based foods.

“Food-related illnesses can happen, [causing] vomiting and diarrhea, that can be severe depending on the organism that’s contaminating the food,” said Toro.