Play with fire but cut out the risks

It’s almost time to take out those sparklers, gorge on sweets and light up the house. But it’s also the time of the year when doctors are cautioning residents to stay safe while playing with firecrackers.

About 45% of eye injuries in children occur at home, said Mohan Rajan, chairman and medical director, Rajan Eye Care Hospital, and of these, 10% are due to cracker injuries.

Corneal abrasions, corneal tear, traumatic cataracts, retinal detachments and ruptured eyeballs are some of the injuries the hospital sees. “Most cracker injuries occur in children less than 15 years old, and eye injuries can result not only in physical disabilities but also affect children psychologically,” said Dr. Rajan. Rocket injuries are the worst, he said, and in the case of some crackers, metal parts could enter the eye and damage it.

Last week, The Burns Association of India (Chennai), RLT Foundations and the Central Leather Research Institute held an awareness programme for schoolchildren, which included a fire-fighting demo.

Facial burns

K. Mathangi Ramakrishnan, chief of plastic surgery and burns at Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital, said that hot water and hot oil injuries were seen during the festive season. This apart, the day after Deepavali, facial burns injuries were seen caused by the lighting up of leftover firecrackers. “First aid that can be administered on any kind of burn is only water — not anything else. The patient should be taken immediately to a hospital,” she said.

P. Vasanthamani, dean of Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, the State’s nodal burns centre, said the hospital would gear up with an emergency team, medicines and consumables.

The burns and plastic surgery unit has 110 beds in total, she said.

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