Superficial Thermal Burns
Burns are a common injury. Fireworks around July 4th and the New year are a common cause. In fact, 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.
Best strategy is avoiding burns to begin with
-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
If you do unfortunately get a sunburn here are some basic recommendations for treatment.
-This may seem obvious, but avoid additional sun exposure all together until the skin heals
This injured red skin is particularly susceptible to further damage from the suns radiation
-Cool/moisturize the skin with water, creams, or ointments
-Try an aspirin (if no medical contraindications) to help with the inflammation and pain
-See your doctor for consideration of a topical steroid.
2018 Fireworks Annual Report Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2018, Consumer Product Safety Commission