Diwali is usually the time for grand celebrations. However, if you ask the folks working in the emergency department at various hospitals, they will readily tell you that cases of fire burns and related injuries increase significantly during Diwali. Every year, hundreds of fire burns and related injuries are reported across India and other global locations as well where Diwali is celebrated. The incidence of such cases is high among children and teenagers, as they are often not aware of the potential consequences and are predisposed to undertake risky maneuvers while lighting crackers and other fireworks. Some fatalities are also reported every year during Diwali.
Types of fire burns caused by crackers and fireworks
Most fire burns and related injuries during Diwali involve first-degree and second-degree burns. However, cases of third-degree burns have also been reported. These usually occur when a person’s clothes catch fire, either while lighting fireworks or after getting in contact with smoldering debris. First-degree burns and minor second-degree burns can be treated at home. Major second-degree burns and all third-degree burns will require treatment at the hospital.
Quick tips forhandling fire burns during Diwali
Basic first aid can help prevent further damage to the skin and underlying tissues. It also helps provide relief to the burn patient and reduces their pain and discomfort. Here are some quick tips to handle fire burns during Diwali.
Call the paramedic:
If you notice major burn injuries, you should call the paramedic immediately or ask someone else to make the call while you take care of the burn patient. In emergency situations, people often get confused and forget to follow the right protocol. Calling an ambulance should be a priority in case of second and third-degree burn injuries.
Take the person to a safe place:
You need to move the affected person to a safe place since they may be hit by other fireworks being lighted in the neighborhood. Taking them to a safe place would keep them away from smoke and other harmful substances in the air that may aggravate their trauma. That way you will also be safe, will be able to avoid the loud noises, and focus on examining the burn injuries in a proper manner.
Remove any smoldering or hot items:
If an individual has come in contact with fireworks, it is likely that some portions of their clothes may be smoldering. It is also possible that they may be wearing jewelry such as rings, bracelets, necklace, etc. If you notice any smoldering or hot items, you need to remove it gently. If it’s stuck to the skin, you need to pour water to eliminate the heat.
Check for eye injuries:
One of the most common injuries caused by crackers and fireworks are eye injuries. You need to check for these and if you notice any debris in the eyes, you can rinse it off with sterile saline solution. You also need to prevent the injured person from touching their eyes. Apart from these, you should not do anything else in case of eye injuries. Waiting for the paramedics to arrive would be best.
Make the person lie down:
Burn injuries can cause extreme shock and it may make the person disoriented. To reduce trauma, you should make the person lie down on a flat surface and place something soft under their head. This will make them feel relaxed and reduce their overall pain and discomfort.
Use water to cool down the burn injury:
In case of first-degree burns, the skin will get reddened. If it’s a second-degree burn injury, it will form blisters. Some of these blisters may remain closed, whereas others may split open and ooze out body fluid. In both first and second-degree burn cases, water (at room temperature) should be poured over the burn injuryfor 15-20 minutes to cool it down. This will prevent further damagingof the skin tissues.
Water should not be used in case of third-degree burns, as it can lead to infection. Third-degree burns should be handled by trained medical professionals.
Apply sterile/antiseptic bandage:
After cooling the burn wound with water, dry the wound site with a clean cloth. Do not try to remove any embedded debris, as it may cause infection or even worsen the injury. When the wound site is completely dry, you can wrap a sterile/antiseptic bandage around the wound. Do not use any lotion or cream on it at this time. Let the doctors take a call on that.
Offer painkillers and blankets:
Once you have given the basic treatment, you can talk to the burn patient to know how they are feeling. If they are experiencing extreme pain, you can give them some painkillers. Trauma from burn injuries can also cause affected people to experience cold. You can provide blankets or other warm clothes to keep them comfortable.
When clothes catch fire
In case a person’s clothes catch fire, you can use a bucket of water or a nonflammable blanket to douse the fire. If both of these are not available, you should ask the person or assist them in carrying out the ‘drop and roll’maneuver. In this technique, the person will drop to the ground and start rolling. They will have to do this until the fire is extinguished. The face needs to be covered with the handsduring this maneuver to protect the mouth, nose, and eyes from burn injuries.When a person’s clothes catch fire, the immediate reaction is to start running. However, this can increase the fire and aggravate the burn injuries. You should ask the person to stop where they are and make them perform the drop and roll maneuver.
The best way to deal with fire burns is to prevent them from occurring. You should follow proper safety precautions while lighting crackers and fireworks during Diwali. You need to track the activities of your kids, as they are more prone to fire burns when using crackers and fireworks. With the right safety precautions, you can reduce the risk of burn injuries and hope to spend some memorable moments with your family and friends this Diwali.