People are injured by fireworks in the UK each year. Among these injuries, unfortunate deaths have been accounted for as well. Could something seemingly magical, like a fireworks display, carry hidden health risks and dangers? Zego dive into what you might not know
about fireworks, including those hidden risks and advised precautions—one could miss even during an exciting festivities night.
ZegoInsurance explains, "Fireworks produce a wide range of effects using different chemicals. Colours are produced by metallic compounds—blue with copper, red with strontium, and green with barium, for example. These otherwise harmless elements become a concern when they combust and are inhaled,
potentially causing respiratory issues."
Here are some health conditions to be particularly wary of if you plan to enjoy a fireworks show:
Respiratory Conditions (like Asthma and COPD):
The smoke from fireworks is laden with particulate matter that might trigger an asthma attack or exacerbate COPD symptoms.
In a 2015 study, researchers found an increase in heart attacks, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, stroke, venous thromboembolism, hypertension, and pulmonary embolism on New Year's Day, which they attributed in part to fireworks-induced air pollution.
Nervous System Disorders:
Loud fireworks can trigger episodes in individuals with sensory processing disorders or conditions like autism, PTSD, and epilepsy.
Contrary to popular belief, injury and health risks don't only occur at major fireworks displays. Many incidents happen at small family gatherings, where safety precautions are likely to be less stringent.
Zego advises, "The safest way to enjoy fireworks is undoubtedly at an organised public event. Here, professionals handle the fireworks, and there are extensive safety measures in place."
However, if you do want to light fireworks yourself, follow this safety advice:
Make sure spectators are at a safe distance before lighting a firework.
Use a taper to light the firework at arm's length and then stand well back.
One at a Time:
Only light one firework at a time and never return to a firework once it's been lit.
Always supervise children around fireworks and never give sparklers to a child under five.
Once a firework is finished, leave it for 20 minutes and then immerse it in a bucket of water before disposal.
A Word of Caution
In the riveting spectacle of a fireworks display, it's critical to remember that caution should not fly with the wind. The admiration for such mesmerising displays is shared by many, but all should be aware of the health risks and potential dangers. That way, everyone can celebrate, appreciate and participate, while ensuring a safe and fun experience for all.