(NewsNation) — Dr. Corey Heber spent 11 years working in emergency rooms, where each year he saw blown-out ear drums, hand injuries and severe anxiety — all linked to fireworks.
“This day is like the bane of my existence because people have no idea the things that can happen to you from fireworks,” Heber said.
There were 11,500 fireworks injuries last year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority happened around the Fourth of July holiday. More than 1,000 were the result of contact with sparklers, which can burn as hot as 2,000 degrees.
“We love that we can write in the night with the sparklers but they are very, very, dangerous,” Heber said. “Because when you touch someone with one, it is a really bad burn.”
Handling fireworks is a job best left to the professionals, Heber said, warning of permanent hearing loss and potential property and wildlife damage.
Nine people died in fireworks-related incidents in 2021 and 26 the year prior, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“People get paid to do it,” he said. “Let them do it. Because if you’re in a rural area then you have fires that start because of the fireworks.”
The loud explosions can also stir anxiety in pets and veterans.
“We have people that have severe anxiety around the Fourth of July because they were in the military,” Heber said. “They’ve served out country and that boom that they hear really causes anxiety for them.”
In the event of an injury, Heber said immediate treatment should prioritize stopping any bleeding and making sure the injured person is breathing properly.
A blown out ear drum should be treated with ice, compression, and a trip to the doctor right away, he said.
“You can lose your hearing for forever,” Heber said. “This can be permanent.”