How to enjoy fireworks while staying safe

Watching fireworks is a great way to celebrate Independence Day, and most cities have events that safely display fireworks.

However, fireworks can also lead to life-threatening injuries.

Alejandro Garcia, M.D., Johns Hopkins pediatric surgeon, provides important information to protect against injuries caused by fireworks.

Sparklers burn at a temperature of greater than 1,000 degrees. That’s five times hotter than boiling water. Therefore, an adult, never a child, should light and dispose of a sparkler.

Most burns are caused by simple fireworks such as firecrackers, sparklers and bottle rockets.

All types of fireworks come with a big risk of injury including blindness, third-degree burns, and permanent scarring.

One out of four victims of firework-related accidents are not the users.

So, it is important to be aware of surroundings when people are using fireworks. Always have a bucket of water available.

All residual or “dud” fireworks should be soaked with water before disposal. Many can remain hot and able to cause significant burns for extended periods.

All burns should be evaluated immediately at a burn center, especially to the hands and face.

People need to consider attending firework displays instead of lighting fireworks themselves.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins also provide tips for skin protection and travel health.

Sun exposure is important and healthy when in appropriate amounts. It is necessary for making vitamin D, and it boosts mood.

But too much sunshine is harmful to skin health.

According to Nashay Clemetson, M.D., Johns Hopkins dermatologist, people need to do several things to protect their skin from sunburn.

Remain in shaded areas when the sun is at its peak intensity (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).

Ultraviolet light — ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) — can damage the skin, eyes and immune system, regardless of skin color or tone, a

Repeated sunburns lead to wrinkling, premature aging, and skin cancers.

Some antibiotics and medicine for controlling blood pressure make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen — sun protection factor 15-plus — on exposed areas of the skin.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours (every 80 minutes if perspiration is significant or when swimming).

Wear ultraviolet protection factor clothing, sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats.

Cynthia Sears, M.D., Johns Hopkins professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist, provide tips to prevent travel-related sickness.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds after contact with contaminated surfaces.

Hand sanitizers do not reliably kill norovirus, so hand-washing is very important.

Avoid contact with people who have symptoms of a gastrointestinal virus.

Throw out any food that might be contaminated with norovirus.

Thoroughly clean, with a bleach-based household cleaner or diluted bleach, surfaces potentially contaminated by vomit or stool from people who are ill.

Do not prepare food for others if you are ill or for at least two days after gastrointestinal symptoms stop.