Avoiding Burns and Bugs: Dermatologist's Guide to a Happy 4th of July

Avoiding Burns and Bugs: A Dermatologist Guide to Happy Skin on the 4th of July


Burns - Firework Safety

Sparkler fireworks are an extremely common cause of burn during the 4th of July and preferentially affect children.

Sparkler fireworks are an extremely common cause of burn during the 4th of July and preferentially affect children.

According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (1) there were 9100 fireworks related injuries in 2018 seen in the Emergency Room of which 44% were burns.  The age group of 10-14 were one of those most prominently affected. Sparklers make up for 14-28 percent of these injuries. Sparklers can burn up to 2000 degrees as hot as a blow torch.  Make sure you exercise the appropriate precautions when celebrating the 4th.

Superficial burns are painful and may have redness or a superficial blister similar to a sunburn.  Cool the area, remove rings or other restrictive jewelry, then apply an ointment such as Vaseline.

If there is any concern for a deeper burn or if the burn involves more than a few square centimeters of surface area you should seek emergency room care.  Worrisome signs for a deeper burn includes a white, brown, or black charred appearance to the skin, loss of sensation to the area, or involvement of critical areas of the body such as the hands and face.

Burns- Sun Safety

Don’t forget your sun protection strategy as you celebrate the 4th.

Don’t forget your sun protection strategy as you celebrate the 4th.

July 4th is an extremely common time to see people with sunburns. In the celebration and revelry people can lose track of time and forget the impact of the sun’s radiation.  Remember these tips.

-Dress to protect: lightweight clothing, hats, sunglasses

-Sunscreen is best as a compliment to clothing/avoidance rather than only means of sun protection

-Apply before going outdoors

-Broad spectrum: UVA/UVB, at least 30+

-Reapply: every 2 hrs or after swim/sweat

-Physical blockers preferred: Titanium/Zinc dioxide

-Return indoors frequently throughout the day

Bugs- Mosquito, ticks, bugs Protection

Consider insect repellent with 20-30% DEET to ward off mosquitos.

Consider insect repellent with 20-30% DEET to ward off mosquitos.

Insect repellent contains 20-30% DEET which can be applied to skin and clothing to ward off mosquitos, ticks, and bugs.  Best not to use sunscreen with the built in repellent because sunscreen should be applied regularly whereas insect repellent sparingly.  Using clothing to cover exposed skin.

For painful bites an NSAID (such as ibuprofen) may be helpful to reduce pain and swelling.  Histamine released in the skin is often responsible for the itch that occurs, so oral antihistamines may be helpful.  Ice pack may help for larger bites and stings.

  1. 2018 Fireworks Annual Report Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2018, Consumer Product Safety Commission

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